Starbucks have recently announced that it is aiming to donate 100 percent of its unsold food to charities that feed those in need.
The new program, which will include all of Starbucks’ 7,600 company-operated stores based in the U.S., will be set into motion this year. It is estimated that the coffee giant will be provide 50 million meals by 2021.
The program, called FoodShare, was inspired by an idea that the company’s employees, or “partners,” came up with. According to reports, the employees had suggested that the company donate the food that doesn’t sell instead of throwing it away.
“The partners would say, ‘It hurts to throw perfectly good food in a landfill.’ It took a couple years to get the food in a safe way to people in need,” a spokeswoman for Starbucks told ABC News.
Since 2010, Starbucks has been donating their leftover pastries to food charities; however, due to the company’s food safety polices, employees were required to throw out salads and other pre-packaged meals.
“This food is going to make a difference,” Kienan McFadden, a Starbucks store manager said. “Rescuing food in this way from being thrown away will change lives. It makes me proud to know our partners are the heroes in this.”
As part of the new program, Starbucks has teamed up with the non-profit Feeding America, a hunger relief organization with a nationwide network of food banks feeding the hungry. The food—such as sandwiches, salads and other refrigerated items—will still be labelled as Starbuck products when they are given to the recipients.
“All of our internal testing gave us the confidence to do that,” the Starbucks spokeswoman said. In order to ensure that the food was safe to consume and still retained its original texture and flavour after beging donated, the company had previously conducted “extensive” food testing. For instance, for one of the tests a sandwich was transported in the middle of summer in Arizona while its temperature was regularly checked throughout the journey.
Starbucks hopes this program will encourage other companies to create similar ones of their own, reports ABC News. Chipotle, Olive Garden, KFC and Taco Bell are among the other large companies that donate food to charity.
“It will be a while to take what we learned and apply it to other markets,” said the spokeswoman for Starbucks.
Feature Image: Flickr, Faye
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