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Surprising Science

Coming Soon: A Store Selling Food That’s Past Its Sell-By Date

Conceived of by former Trader Joe’s president Doug Rauch, the store will offer affordable foods that, while technically “expired,” are still perfectly edible. He says it’s one solution to the growing problem of food waste.

What’s the Latest Development?

Boston’s working-class Dorchester neighborhood will be able to claim a very special new grocery store next year: The Daily Table will offer, at a deep discount, prepared and repackaged foods that are past their sell-by date but are still edible. The store is the brainchild of former Trader Joe’s president Doug Rauch, who says that it will be “kind of a hybrid between a grocery store and a restaurant…because primarily it’s going to take this food in, prep it, cook it [for] what I call speed-scratch cooking. But the idea is to offer this at prices that compete with fast food.”

What’s the Big Idea?

In the US, 40 percent of food is wasted each year and, according to a recent report, one reason for this is that people don’t understand what the dates on the labels mean. Rauch says that The Daily Table will get its expired food both from grocers, who keep or toss food according to the dates, and growers, whose produce is “nutritionally sound, perfectly good, but…not quite up for prime time.” If the Dorchester store takes off, Rauch hopes to spread it to other underserved areas where access to healthy affordable food is limited.

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Read it at NPR


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