Baristas at every Starbucks in the US collectively trash thousands of sandwiches, yogurt parfaits, and cookies at the end of each day.
In March, the coffee chain announced that it would start donating that unsold food to those in need. The program, called FoodShare, is a partnership between Starbucks and the nonprofits Food Donation Connection (FDC) and Feeding America and aims to combat hunger and food waste.
As of August 25, Starbucks has donated more than 300,000 meals to local food banks since the program’s launch. About 1,800 locations currently participate, but the company says it will onboard all of its 7,600 US stores by 2019.
Every day, members from the FDC pick up Starbucks’ surplus food, put it in refrigerated vans, and redistribute it to food pantries.
Starbucks estimates that the program will provide 5 million ready-made meals to charities in its first year. The company hopes to deliver 50 million meals by 2021.
The FDC is the largest hunger-relief nonprofit in the US and already works with chains like Pizza Hut, KFC, Taco Bell, the Cheesecake Factory, and Chipotle. The latter two companies donate food from all of their stores nationwide.
The new program is just one of many efforts geared towards minimising America’s food waste. Other larger wholesalers, like Target, Sam’s Club, and Walmart, donate millions pounds of food to pantries in partnership with Feeding America.
Governments around the world are also trying to fight the problem. In February, the French parliament introduced a bill that forces the country’s supermarkets to donate all of their unsold food to charity.
“This food is going to make a difference, whether it’s a child not going hungry for the night or a family that’s able to enjoy a protein plate that they would not have otherwise been able to afford at Starbucks,” Kienan McFadden, a Starbucks store manager, said in a statement. “Rescuing food in this way from being thrown away will change lives.”
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