Waste not, want not is a philosophy many of us try, in vain, to live by.
But with consumers so often confused by labels like ‘use-by’, ‘best-before’ and ‘sell-by’ many of us will toss-out food that may still look ok simply because we don’t want to run the risk of getting sick.
A recent study by TIME Magazine found that, on average, Americans throw out more than 90 per cent of food prematurely. This is an astonishing number of food waste if you think about the broader global food burden. While an American-based study, the research does offer those of us living in the western world some food for thought.
How does food dating effect the way we see and understand the food we buy and can food items still be edible even when past their ‘peak freshness’?
Dough Rauch, the former president of a US supermarket chain names Trader Joe’s, has decided to tackle this issue head on. The American has conceived the idea of opening a grocery store that specialises in repackaging and selling food that’s past it’s best before date at severely discounted prices
The project, coined the Daily Table, will hit the working-class suburb of Dorchester in Boston next year.
“It’s the idea about how to bring affordable nutrition to the underserved in our cities,” Rauch told US reporters.
“It basically tries to utilize 40 percent of this food that is wasted,” Rauch added.
The Daily Table, he explained, will be a: “kind of a hybrid between a grocery store and a restaurant if you would, because primarily it’s going to take this food in, prep it, cook it [for] what I call speed-scratch cooking.”
Essentially, Daily Table will be ‘repurposing’ these expired foods. While the concept isn’t entirely new – with food banks having practised the method for years and years – the idea could make people re-think about their mealtime options.
Dishing up otherwise nutritional food at bargain-basement prices means people could opt for the Daily Table over other fast-food chains – while also supporting a long-term solution for the growing problem of food waste.
“This is about trying to tackle a very large social challenge we have,” says Rauch, arguing: “that is going to create a health care tsunami in cost if we don’t do something about it.”
This idea also got our MiNDFOODIE’s thinking, what are some foods that you can still consume when out of date? Tell us your thoughts by sharing them in the comments section below.