Why Does Food Rescue Matter?

“I have some crates of milk  for you that we have too much of this week .” Brandon, the milkman, at our neighborhood Mariano’s is eager to provide our neighbors with the excess stock his store receives. 

Seth, our driver, visits stores throughout the city each morning to rescue excess food. From baked bread, vegetables, milk, eggs, meat, and everything in between, food rescued from grocery stores feeds our neighbors. 

Food rescue also creates a more sustainable supply chain. Grocers can forecast supply and demand at different times of the year however there is always some food that goes unsold. When stores donate fresh food and non-perishable items to The Friendship Center, they are eliminating excess food waste. 

“According to ReFED, 35% of food, or 80.6 million tons, goes uneaten or unsold in the United States – and most of that goes to waste.” (Feeding America, 2023). 

Food waste can also happen because of cosmetic issues like the item is too long, discolored, or oddly shaped, and retailers do not want to carry those items.

Additionally, the packaging could be mislabeled and missing the allergen information, so the items aren’t able to be sold in stores. Our network partner, Feeding America, is the only FDA-trusted organization with the ability to relabel food so that allergies can properly be listed and items can be donated to people facing hunger. 

Many manufacturers produce different types of products using the same machinery. It’s almost impossible to have some items not turn out correctly. For example, a plant that packages crunchy and creamy peanut butter will inevitably have a few batches that mix creamy and crunchy due to switching the type of consistency during production. Retailers do not want to carry these items as it can decrease customer satisfaction.

Cosmetic issues do not make food inedible. The network of food banks and pantries across the country can rescue these items from farmers, manufacturers, and retailers and redistribute them to the community. 

Check out this challenge from Feeding America to see if you can spot which food items would end up in a landfill instead of the grocery store. 

As a community, The Friendship Center partners with our neighborhood grocers to prevent healthy and fresh food from ending up in the trash and instead go to people who need it but cannot afford it. In the last twelve months we have rescued more than 500,000 lbs of wholesome food. To put that into perspective that is about a month of meals for 463 people! 

We are grateful to partner with Jewel #3262, Jewel #1282, Jewel #3442, Mariano’s #522, Mariano’s #515, Tony’s Fresh Market #567, Tony’s Fresh Market #1167, GoPuff #1, and Costco. We also continue to add new partnerships that will support our neighbors.

During Hunger Action Month we encourage you to fight hunger by partnering with us. $50 a month can feed a family of four and this month you can double your impact* thanks to a generous matching fund from John and Erin Telford. 

*All gifts up to $3,000 will be matched.