Starbucks to Donate All of Its Unsold Food
By 2021 that will add up to nearly 50M meals a year
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 23, 2016 9:15 AM CDT
Starbucks aims to donate 100% of unused food by next year.   (AP Photo/Seth Perlman)

(Newser) – Some 70 billion pounds of food is wasted in the US annually—but you won't find a single unused Starbucks spinach and feta breakfast wrap in the mix by 2021. The company announced Tuesday it plans to donate 100% of unsold food within five years as part of a new FoodShare program with Food Donation Connection and Feeding America. The concept: Refrigerated trucks will eventually show up daily at 7,600 US locations, load all unsold perishable food, and deliver it to food banks, reports Mashable. Starbucks already donates its pastries—Chipotle, Cheesecake Factory, KFC, Olive Garden, and Taco Bell also donate food, per CNNMoney—but "it's really easy to donate pastries," says a brand manager of the company's food team, per Inc. "Fresh, refrigerated food? It's a whole different ballgame."

That's because food-safety policies and refrigeration requirements are much more involved. So what finally pushed the company to make a change? Its employees. "Our people just felt so badly," says CEO Howard Schultz. (A Starbucks press release on the program opens with a shift supervisor's recollection of experiencing hunger as a child.) Pilot programs (including one in Phoenix's July heat) proved the concept, and Starbucks says it will provide almost 5 million meals to those in need within the first year of the program; by 2021, it expects that number to be nearly 50 million. Other restaurants could take advantage of Starbucks' refrigerated trucks to add to the impact, the company adds. (This supermarket sells only expired food.)