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02/05/2013 10:40 AM     print story email story  

Innovative Startup Tackles US Food Waste

SustainableBusiness.com News

An innovative startup company, FoodStar, wants to do something about the fact that a staggering 40% of the food grown or raised on US farms winds up in landfills.

Fruits and vegetables often don't even make it to supermarket shelves because retailers think people will reject them if they aren't cosmetically perfect. 

But what if it cost 80% less than the typical price?

FoodStar is counting on the assumption that people wouldn't care if an apple isn't completely red or is perfectly shaped if they can get fresh produce at a great price.

Therefore, the company organizes "flash" sales with supermarket produce departments for foods that don't quite meet aesthetic requirements or are nearing the end of its shelf life. Shoppers sign up at Foodstar's website to be notified about these sales.

Any unsold produce that's left after a flash sale goes to composting facilities rather than landfills.

FoodStar is testing the concept with apples at a local grocery chain, Andronico's Community Market, in Northern California. Although the apples are nutritionally fine, they are one "quality" level below those typically bought by retailers. 

The apples are displayed in a separate bin with a sign that says: "By intercepting food that would normally add to farmers' expenses, together we are putting more money into growers pockets and offering great deals on product to our customers."

In the first two weeks, two tons of apples sold. 

FoodStar ACM FoodStar Signage.JPG

It's a win-win - supermarkets benefit from more traffic and the ability to offer deals to customers. Farmers can harvest more of their crop and America wastes less food.

Read Wasted: How America Is Losing Up to 40% of Its Food from Farm to Fork to Landfill:

Website: www.nrdc.org/food/wasted-food.asp



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