This January, Food Shift launched a program with Andronico’s Community Market, establishing and managing a food donation and waste tracking system for their stores. We saw huge strides towards reducing waste, feeding people, and saving money.
Food Shift arranged for 3 weekly pickups in which food was collected and distributed through St. Vincent de Paul, a soup kitchen in West Oakland. In the first three months of the program, over 44,000 lbs of food was collected, including melons, apples, oranges, lettuce, granola bars and more. Andronico’s determined that the quantity of waste in their dumpsters had declined so drastically that the store could reduce their number of garbage and compost pick ups to three days per week, which can save them almost $27,000 each year!
Chad Solari, Director of Produce and Floral and Andronico’s Community Markets is a huge advocate for reducing the store’s waste and the donation program. “We have a conscience. Our customers are interested in more than just buying and selling. We hope to build trust with existing customers and maybe even attract new customers as well, who know they are dealing with the most socially progressive retailer they can.”
Food Shift conducted a staff survey at the Shattuck and Solano locations to assess the staff’s opinion on the donation and waste tracking pilot program and the program’s impact on staff. 87% of survey respondents reported that the food donation program increases their happiness while working at Andronico’s.
In addition to the social and environmental benefits of food donation, this program is an important step towards demonstrating that its a smart decision to invest in food recovery rather than incur the costs of food disposal.