Daily Table: Trader Joe's Ex-President To Sell Expired Food

May 14, 2014Reading Time: 4 min

Food waste is a growing issue that should no longer be ignored. A concern of eating foods after ‘sell-by’, ‘best-by’ or ‘use-by’ dates has everyone throwing out their food before they go bad. In the U.S., about 40% of food is wasted due to these ‘expiration’ dates. In comparison to this percentage, the U.S. loses $165 billion dollars on ‘spoiled’ food per year.

It is reported that the world scraps 1/3 of its food sources every year. The numbers are shocking and reveal how wasteful the world is when it comes to food. These foods are completely safe to eat and proper preservation can increase their shelf life. For example, you can place a loaf of bread in the freezer and allow it to stay fresh up to a month over its expiration date. There is no need to let our food rot in a landfill if it is only a day old. Former president of Trader Joe’s Doug Rauch understands this.

Rauch believes ‘expired’ foods are still fresh enough for consumption. In order to support this Rauch is opening a brand new grocery store utilizing foods slightly passed ‘sell-by’ dates. Rauch’s store, Daily Table, is set to open in Dorchester, Massachusetts and looks to provide affordable nutrition to those that are underserved. The store will mostly sell fruits and vegetables that are cosmetically blemished or have a ‘use-by’ date that’ll be several days out. You will also find milk, eggs, bread and other food at Daily Table. For those simply searching for a hot meal, Daily Table’s restaurant will repurpose food and turn them into affordable hot meals. However, if you wish to avoid any of Daily Table’s repackaged food, the store will also supply freshly prepared products that are not brand driven.

Aside from providing nutritious meals to those who are underserved, Rauch hopes to reduce the amount of food wasted in the U.S. The extremely low, fast food prices should promote a use for ‘expired’ food. For example, 50 to 75 cents could provide an entire family with a whole-grain loaf of bread.

Are expired foods the future of frugal grocery shopping?

Rauch’s approach with Daily Table is to create an environment that is warm, friendly and bright. He wants the average person walking into his store to believe they are purchasing a first rate product. His mission could possibly revolutionize the way grocery stores are operated. If Rauch’s store is successful in Dorchester, we may see more grocery stores like it blossom throughout the nation. An increase in retail environments such as this will ultimately lower the amount of wasted groceries and lower the expenditures wasted on food. Tremendously cheap prices allow individuals to save huge on grocery purchases as well. It allows those who are less fortunate to partake in nutritious meals at a fraction of the price.

In order to compete with new retail environments, current grocery stores may fuse selling strategies together, thus, creating hybrid grocery stores which offer new and fresh foods while also implementing dated food for those who wish to save more. However, grocery stores may be reluctant to adapt to these changes or participate in sales of ‘expired’ groceries. There are always concerns of simple food-safety issues, contracting E. coli or salmonella.

There’s no doubt that customers are going to be hesitant to trying out this new concept. The lingering concerns are the overall quality of these foods and the problems that may arise after ingestion. Proper preservation and time elapsed before consumption will ultimately play a role in safety matters. Freezing prevents bacteria from spreading, while extreme heats can burn away the pests. However, the positive factors of grocery stores such as Daily Table outweigh the bad.

As stated, percentages of wasted food will decrease dramatically. Throughout the world we will see more food on plates rather than in a landfill. Money that would be spent on food can be spent on other beneficial purchases. Those who are unfortunate will be able to purchase food that is not only nutritious but affordable. Very low prices will provide customers with abundant savings that could lead to budget increases.

Rauch’s vision looks to help out individuals in many ways. Helping the world and altering certain perspectives about food could ultimately be a huge step in fixing an issue that needs to be dealt with.