As per the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s definition, people living in roughly 14 percent of the nation’s households are food insecure.
In other words, more than 49 million Americans have limited or uncertain access to affordable and nutritious food—this, in the world’s most bountiful agricultural nation. With numbers like these, produce should not go to waste.
As The Bee’s Mark Glover reported last week, West Sacramento-based Raley’s Supermarkets has taken a step forward, launching a program to sell imperfect-looking produce at discounted prices. It’s a pilot project at 10 Sacramento-area stores that we hope takes off, and that other grocers emulate.
More than 49 million Americans have limited or uncertain access to affordable and nutritious food; this, in the world’s most bountiful agricultural nation.
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Retailers typically discard food that does not meet the ideal standard for visual appeal. The overall amount of food waste is estimated at 6 billion pounds a year. California produces nearly half of that amount.
Throwing good food away makes no sense, from a nutrition or a profit perspective, and it’s nice to see more businesses look for the sweet spot where good commerce meets public health.
Earlier this year, Raley’s ceased selling tobacco products, tracking the far larger CVS Pharmacy, which pulled tobacco from its shelves last year. And last week, CVS announced that it was pulling out of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce because of the chamber’s efforts to loosen tobacco restrictions overseas.
In this latest effort, Raley’s is working with Imperfect, an Emeryville startup dedicated to reducing food waste. Produce that is perfectly edible and nutritious, but imperfect looking, will be sold at a discount – good news for shoppers who struggle to pay for fresh produce.
Most consumers prefer to buy immaculate-looking peaches, plums and tomatoes, and that’s fine. But stretching the harvest is a deliciously smart decision, and a healthier choice.