Food waste is not only a discussion on the dinner table nowadays, but also a hot discussion topic on board meeting of most grocery stores, deli stores and bakeries. The unbelievable large amount of daily food wastes from the overstocked food drawn the attention from the public and forced the businesses owners to figure out nontraditional solutions towards the problem . Just like Clarence B.Jones addressed at the Ross Business School of Michigan, there are CEOs decided to be the Neros of today. Despite the critics from public, they stick along with the traditional way of waste handling, which is directly destroy all the food that are not sold by the sell-by date. This move is considered to be an enhancement to the firms’ brand images of quality control. However, with the growing understanding of sustainability among the public, people are more likely to consider firms putting efforts on re-use the “expired” food to be more responsible to the society and environment. Confused by mostly unregulated “sell-by” and “best-by” dates, consumers throw away the items out and contributed to more than 180 billion of food waste every year in United States. Public generally believe that the must be a more environment-friendly way to solve this problem and the ultimate goal becomes to create a win-win situation between food supplier and consumers.
Photograph by Evan Sung for Bloomberg Businessweek
Gladly, there are more and more firms and entrepreneurs starts to crack this problem through more sustainable ways. The whole foods market, as known as the US leading natural and organic food store chain, has been expending its Overstock Donation Program towards community around its retails. With help from the local hunger relief organizations and food banks, sufficient amount “expired” foods from the whole foods market are consumed before wasted. This is a good case of win-win between retails and their local communities. There are also people try to convert the wastes into profits. Earlier in 2013, Trader Joe’s, another leading food market chain in US, ex-president is reported to open a store to sell expired food. The price of pre-made meal provided by this store is comparable with most fast food store. The quality of food consumer could get from this is way better than fast food chains. Despite the critics about selling food might turn bad, the public are mostly delighted about this idea.
Different approaches towards overstocked food problem will come out in the later years, but the first and last point to overcome is still how to turn over the public’s traditional understanding of about-expire food, which I believe is the tipping point of the industry.