In the United States, about 40 percent of food gets thrown away every year. Meanwhile, one in eight Americans are considered to be food insecure, meaning they lack reliable access to a supply of food. Doug Rauch, Founder and President of Daily Table (and former head of Trader Joe’s), opened a non-profit grocery store based in Massachusetts to create a double-pronged solution.
Daily Table works with a network of growers, manufacturers, wholesalers, and other suppliers to recover food that otherwise would have been thrown away and then sells that food at an affordable price. There are currently two locations, one in Dorchester and the other in Roxbury, Massachusetts.
Change Food volunteer, Amy Vu, went to its newest location in Roxbury to check out the store. Here’s what she says:
When I walked into the store, I was immediately welcomed by the nice, open layout with brightly painted green and orange walls. Fresh produce is displayed in baskets and crates which contribute to the vibrant fresh food market vibe. The store is split into three major sections: 1) fresh, perishable food, 2) frozen aisle with mostly frozen proteins and vegetables, and 3) dried goods aisle with grains, beans, canned, and snacks.
- No junk food allowed. In the store you can find minimally processed ingredients like fresh produce, meat, poultry, dairy, frozen vegetables, and dried goods, but you won’t find any cookies or candy in between aisles. There is a Nutrition Task Force that sets nutrition standards for prepared foods and products sold in the store, making it easy to shop for healthy food.
- Find Grab and Go meals for $5 and under. Meals are made and delivered daily from the commissary kitchen at the Dorchester location. The dishes also seemed to cater to the cultural taste preferences of the neighborhood. I found Maple Bourbon BBQ Chicken with Steamed Vegetables and Caribbean rice for $2.99, $1.49 for a side Fire-Roasted Corn Salad, and $0.99 for side roasted vegetables.
- Friendly staff who believe in the store’s mission. Ask any staff member and they will tell you the prices are the best in town. Brand names were sold as deeply discounted prices, such as, Noosa yogurts for $0.79 and $0.99 for Organic Valley eggs. The availability depends on what inventory is leftover from other stores, so every shopping experience may be different.
- Consistent stock of pantry staples. Since most food items are recovered food, you’ll never know if you’ll be able to find the same deals every time you visit. However, the store sets aside a fund to purchase staples like milk, eggs, and leafy greens to ensure a consistent stock of the essentials.
Overall, I was impressed by selection and prices of the store. Of course there are other factors like income and costs of living that should be taken into consideration to identify whether the prices are truly affordable. To further serve its mission, Daily Table also free cooking classes at it’s Dorchester location.
Daily Table is one example of a growing number of solutions to food waste and food insecurity. Stay tuned with Change Food as we discover other great groups and companies working to solve critical issues around food waste and food insecurity. And let us know of any great programs you’ve come across!
Amy is a registered dietitian passionate about food access, hunger, and food waste issues. Her favorite thing to eat are croissants.