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Why a new grocery store is selling only old food

Posting in Cities

The world has a massive food waste problem. One-third of all the food produced worldwide is wasted, leading to $750 billion in direct economic costs every year.

That's a big problem for one person to take on, but Doug Rauch, the former president of Trader Joe's, is set to start tackling the waste issue from the retail end of the food production chain.

His idea: A grocery store that sells only expired products at deep discounts. As Rauch explains the concept to 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. [So we] bring this food down into a retail environment where it can become affordable nutrition.

The project, known as the Daily Table, is expected to open its first store in Dorchester, Mass. next year.

As Time points out, 90 percent of Americans throw away food before it's gone bad, confusing the sell-by date for the throw-away date. That statistic seems to indicate an American stigma with food past its prime. Will the store be able to pull off some PR magic to get customers to buy old food? Or can ultra-low prices do the trick?

Read more: NPR

Photo: Flickr/SodanieChea

— By on September 24, 2013, 7:44 AM PST

Tyler Falk

Contributing Editor

Tyler Falk is a freelance journalist based in Washington, D.C. Previously, he was with Smart Growth America and Grist. He holds a degree from Goshen College. Follow him on Twitter. Disclosure