Wednesday 29 January 2014

US shops that only offer food past its sell-by date

According to today's news in the Guardian that a man is to be put on trial in February after he was allegedly caught stealing from the bins behind an Iceland store in London, it appears that Freegans, or bin scavengers, are becoming a feature of the current flatline environment.

Paul May, a freelance web designer, is expected to argue in court that he does not consider taking the mushrooms, tomatoes, cheese, and cakes from the garbage outside of Iceland as illegal, because the food was  going to be disposed of and he needed it to feed himself, the Guardian reported.

Given that the Freegan movement started in New York a decade ago, it follows that the US should be first in opening stores that only offer food that is past its sell-by date.

Doug Rauch’s new venture The Daily Table, due to open in May, in Dorchester, Massachusetts, will be part grocery store and part cafe, specializing in healthy, inexpensive food and catering to the underserved population in Dorchester, Mass. What makes it controversial – at least at first glance – is Rauch’s business model: His store will exclusively collect and sell food that had crept past its “sell-by” date, rendering it unsellable in other, more conventional supermarkets.

But the real challenge, in Rauch’s vision, isn’t just getting that excess food to the people who need it. It’s convincing them that it’s worth eating.

Rauch is looking for a market-driven solution to food waste. The store will be a non-profit, but after an initial round of funding gets it started, he intends for it to be self-sustaining.

Interesting to see how long after the Freegan Garbage theft trial, the UK follows the US example with shops offering past sell-by food...

...and as an extension of consumers' tendency to 'make do', how much demand will be taken out of the market...

NB Update on Iceland Three case:
Following an outcry on Twitter and questions about the public interest value in pursuing a prosecution – with even bosses at Iceland expressing doubts – the Crown Prosecution Service today announced that it was dropping the case.

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