While evidence of daily food waste surrounds us, Starbucks has plans to put their unsold food to good use. According to USA Today, the coffee giant has pledged to donate 100 percent of its food that hasn’t been purchased to people in need. Through partnerships with Food Donation Connection and Feeding America, the perishable food items will be picked from the chain’s U.S. locations at the end of each day and redistributed to food banks as part of a program called FoodShare.


Starbucks estimates that its leftover paninis, salads, breakfast sandwiches, and snack boxes will help provide around five million meals in its first year. By 2021, the chain says it will be able to provide nearly 50 million meals once it reaches a 100 percent donation rate. Starbucks already donates its surplus pastries through Food Donation Connection.



The coffee chain hopes it can inspire other restaurants to get on board. Feeding America estimates that the country wastes nearly 70 billion pounds of food each year. This works out to over $160 billion in food waste per year. While all of that food is going into the trash, the USDA estimates that 17.4 million American households are food insecure. This means that they lack “access to enough food for an active, healthy life for all household members.


In addition to Starbucks, a number of people are working towards fixing the country’s food waste problem. In 2013, NYC resident Robert Lee started Recusing Leftover Cuisine, a nonprofit that helps restaurants donate their leftover food to NYC homeless shelters. Chef and author Dan Barber has been working to bring attention to the issue by doing a pop-up called wastED, which features dishes made from ingredients that would have been throw away as garbage. As part of the pop-up he created a veggie burger from the pulp left-over from juicing, which he also served at Shake shack for a day.

[via USA Today]