Why should we be excited about a new grocery store? Because this new store is giving away rescued food, in addition to offering it up for sale. OzHarvest, a new marketplace in Kensington, Australia, tackles both problems: food waste and food insecurity.
“Every time we save good food, we help the planet. Every time we take that food and feed hungry people, we address social issues,” stated Ronni Kahn, Founder of OzHarvest.
Store Rescues Food to Address Food Waste Problem
Most supermarket chains reject fresh produce because of aesthetic defects, such as bruises and freckles. OzHarvest store rescues food and sells it or gives it away to its customers.. In addition, it collects mislabeled packaged foods and groceries that have reached their use-by date. Typically, these foods are still perfectly edible, but most stores throw them away.
The amount of food waste in the world is exorbitant. In Australia, consumers waste about 20 percent of the food they purchase. Imagine throwing away one out of every five shopping baskets of food you buy. That is exactly what is happening!
The problem is global. In the U.S., about 40 percent of produced food never gets eaten. This translates to 365 million pounds of food waste per day.
OzHarvest works with 2500 food donors. It repurposes perfectly-good food that others would rather toss out.
“We only take food that is absolutely edible.”
“All of our drivers are trained in handling, they will not accept produce if they wouldn’t eat it themselves.” ~ Ronni Kahn
Clerks Can Sell or Give Away Food, Depending on Customers’ Needs
Global food prices continue to rise. The USDA reports that the average monthly grocery bill for a family of four increased over 28 percent from 2006 to 2016. No wonder the problem of food insecurity is not going away. One in six Australians and one in eight Americans report having at least one instance of food insecurity during the past 12 months.
In addition to collecting food donations, OzHarvest gives away food to combat hunger in Kensington. It encourages other customers to make donations. The store’s motto: “Take what you need. Give if you can.”
“Everything we do is not about profit, it’s about purpose,” says Kahn.
The founder plans to open other outlets throughout Australia, including in Sydney. She states:
“We totally believe this will be a catalyst to other property developers. We have the capacity to take it around the country, if all the forces come together. This is a duplicable model. Hopefully down the track there will be a free farmers market in every state.”
As we see more positive, socially-responsible businesses spring up around the globe, the eyes turn to us, the consumers. What types of businesses will we choose to support? Perhaps there’s a discount food store in your town that you could support. Or a local food bank where you may want to volunteer. You don’t have to save the world, but together we can start solve issues such as food waste and food insecurity.
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