There’s McDonald’s gross, and then there’s expired-yogurt gross. Doug Rauch, the former president of Trader Joe’s, is hoping the latter might be a little more palatable to you. (He’ll be sticking to old produce, not dairy, which helps.)
Rauch wants to take a bite outta the 40 percent of food Americans waste, so he’s launching the Daily Table. It’ll be a restaurant-supermarket hybrid where you can get a cheap, healthy meal that would otherwise end up in a landfill. If you’ve grabbed a meal at Whole Foods or your neighborhood hippie grocery store, Daily Table might be something like that (only more affordable). As Rauch told NPR:
It’s the idea about how to bring affordable nutrition to the underserved in our cities. It basically tries to utilize this 40 percent of this food that is wasted. This is, to a large degree, either excess, overstocked, wholesome food that’s thrown out by grocers, etc. … at the end of the day because of the sell-by dates. Or [it’s from] growers that have product that’s nutritionally sound, perfectly good, but cosmetically blemished or not quite up for prime time.
(This isn’t the first time Rauch has talked about his plans to solve food waste by just ignoring sell-by dates. In February we reported that he wanted to set up an inner-city supermarket selling expired food. After sitting in a compost of past-peak produce for half a year, that idea is now sprouting as Daily Table.)
FastCo Exist is a little skeptical:
Convincing people that expired food is not going to make them sick will be a challenge; a recent NRDC report found that food labels like “use by,” “best before,” and “sell by” are confusing to consumers, and as a result, 160 billion pounds of food are wasted in the U.S. every year.
But we’re guessing if Daily Table’s reputation is on the line, they’re gonna make sure the food is safe. Although you might want a medieval-style taste-tester at your side, just in case.