The ex-president of Trader Joe’s is reportedly opening a new store. Instead of focusing on “fresh” produce, which is normally a selling point, this store will be stocking expired food.
Doug Rauch, the former president of Trader Joe’s, tells NPR he’s opening a new store called The Daily Table which will focus on repurposing and repackaging food that is slightly past its best-by date, but is still good food.
“It basically tries to utilize this 40 percent of food that is wasted. This is, to a large degree, either excess, overstocked, wholesome food that’s thrown out by grocers,” Rauch tells NPR.
KIRO Radio host John Curley says in the U.S. so much of how we view the usefulness of food is based on how it looks.
“We are really spoiled when it comes to the aesthetics of what food looks like. You go into another country and you’ll walk around and say, really you’re going to eat that apple? They’re like yeah sure why not, nothing wrong with this,” says John. Yet here in the U.S. we might discard an apple with unattractive blemishes.
Guest host Josh Kerns points out it’s not as if we don’t already eat things that are near or just past their expiration date. He understands a regular practice in most major grocery stores is cooking up those meats that are about to cross the line to make the “fresh” ready-to-eat meat options in the deli.
“A lot of the food you get in the deli – you know they have fresh chicken and all that – you know where it came from? It came from right down in the meat aisle,” says Kerns. “You’re still eating it, you just don’t know.”
Ruach says The Daily Table will offer deep discounts compared to other grocers.
Curley says he thinks if the price is right, people will be willing to overlook the food’s apparent unattractiveness.
“If you were going into a supermarket, and you saw there were two bins with apples and one of them the apples were 50 cents and the other one was $1.29 a pound, you’d go to the 50 cent bin.”