Every year, more than ⅓ of the total food produced in the United States is thrown away. No, this food isn’t spoiled, or gross, or somehow bad, it just didn’t get sold. If wasting 133 billion pounds of food while 49 million Americans don’t have access to enough or healthy food doesn’t make a lot of sense to you, you most definitely aren’t alone.
You see, there are a lot of people just like you that think some of that wasted food should be given to those in need, but unfortunately, there isn’t a ton of information out there about the topic of donating perishable food items. Because of this, most unpurchased food is thrown away upon its expiration date, whether or not it is truly expired. So, why is none of this food being donated?
Why We Don’t Donate Perishables
There are two main reasons why people don’t donate perishable groceries, and when it boils down to it, both are super easy to overcome.
First, most vendors, grocers, farmers, and even individuals are wary of donating perishable food items for fear of making someone sick and being held liable. Perishable foods spoil more quickly than canned and shelf-stable items, which is why many people ignore them entirely when they are gathering items for donation. In reality, anyone donating food in good faith is protected under the Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Food Donation Act, which specifically protects donors from liability.
The second reason many people are hesitant to donate perishable items is that they simply can’t coordinate the logistics. Vendors and grocers may not have the space to store perishable goods, individuals may not know where to bring items, or farmers may not have the time to deliver their unsold perishable items themselves. Luckily, organizations like Feeding America make it easy for organizations and individuals to donate perishable food items by acting as middlemen and transporting the groceries.
Perishable Groceries You CAN Donate
Now that you know you can donate perishable items, you are probably wondering what items are most useful! Here are just some of the perishable groceries that many food banks and pantries love to receive:
- Fresh vegetables (potatoes, carrots, onions, etc.)
Interested in learning more about doing your part as a grocer? Visit IT Retail today to learn how we’re helping grocers like you to smoothly run their businesses, and to learn more about topics like food donation from our blog.
Feel free to reach out in our contact page if you need more information or email me directly at George@itretail.com.
– George Goodwin