Former Trader Joe’s President Doug Rauch Plans Cheap Meals From Expired Food

An ex-president of Trader Joe’s has a plan to repurpose edible produce that’s slightly past its sell-by date and usually ends up in the trash.

Doug Rauch is opening a new market early next year in Massachusetts that will prepare and repackage the food at deeply discounted prices, according to NPR.

“It's the idea about how to bring affordable nutrition to the underserved in our cities,” Rauch told NPR. “It basically tries to utilize this 40 percent of this food that is wasted. This is, to a large degree, either excess, overstocked, wholesome food that's thrown out by grocers, etc. ... at the end of the day because of the sell-by dates. Or [it's from] growers that have product that's nutritionally sound, perfectly good, but cosmetically blemished or not quite up for prime time. [So we] bring this food down into a retail environment where it can become affordable nutrition.”

Rauch also discussed the idea with The Boston Globe earlier this year.

The store would sell takeout items such as soups, salads, stews, casseroles, and wraps that are low in fat and high in nutrients, according to Rauch. The space would also feature a teaching kitchen where people can learn to cook quick, healthy meals. In addition, the shop would sell packaged chopped vegetables and offer milk at or past its sell-by date for as low as $1 a gallon — a price that makes it competitive with soda.

NPR asked Rauch if the food is past its sell date, is it still safe to eat?

“Absolutely. As a matter of fact, if you have a product that says ‘sell by Sept. 1’ or ‘Oct. 1’ and, you know, it's Oct. 2, most customers don't realize you can eat that,” said Rauch, who worked for 31 years at the California-based Trader Joe’s grocery chain until he retired in 2008.

Sources: NPR, The Boston Globe


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