A New Way to Feed the Working Poor

It seems that every day new health food stores, organic brands, and healthier alternatives to everyday ingredients are popping up. Health for both the body and the mind is on the forefront of everyone’s brains these days. And it’s not a surprise. Combatting the obesity epidemic has become part of everyday life in America. Vending machines are switching out sugary or sodium filled snacks for apples and string cheese. The First Lady has a national campaign to increase the health of today’s youth and is a spokesperson for a healthy lifestyle. Elementary schools are switching out what most people know as fat-filled, mystery meat hot lunches for healthier choices typically found at the Whole Foods lunch and salad stations. However, healthier choices are still more expensive than their non-nutritious counterparts. Fast food meals are more affordable than organic fruits and veggies, meaning that those who live closer to, at, or below the poverty line have less access to healthy foods and are therefore more prone to obesity. To truly take on the uphill battle of obesity, healthy choices need to be not only available to everyone, but also convenient and affordable.

A man named Doug Rauch is going to attempt to make that possible. Rauch, the former president of Trader Joe’s, plans to open a new grocery store that sells products that would be deemed unsellable at other grocery chains. The store, called The Daily Table, is slated to open in May in Dorchester, Massachusetts and will also house a restaurant. The products that will be sold are considered unsellable either because they are past the expiration date—but, of course, are still edible— or if the product comes in damaged packaging. The restaurant will serve hot meals made of repurposed foods. This will allow him to sell healthy foods at a much more reasonable and affordable price. Rauch hopes that this venture will get food to those who really need it.

The Daily Table will not only serve the working poor who are in need of affordable health food, it will also illustrate to all Americans the necessity of getting healthy foods to those who don’t have easy access to it. Further, it will be a wake-up call regarding the amount of food waste there is in this country. When grocery stores and restaurants throw away food that have exceeded their sell-by date, 165 million dollars a year are wasted, even when the food is still perfectly eatable. Rauch’s store could alter the way that we look at food and how it is used and distributed. While it might be difficult for Rauch to convince his customers that there is nothing wrong with buying expired food, if he is successful, food waste could be lessened drastically with people more willing to buy and use food after their sell-by and expiration date. If The Daily Table is successful with its first store in Dorchester, perhaps Rauch would consider opening more stores in other neighborhoods that could reach even more people, supplying many with healthy food. While luxury brands and grocery stores have been pouring out high-end health products guaranteed to improve how we eat, Doug Rauch is making a difference on a local, more feasible, and an almost obvious level. This could be a vital and inspiring step towards tackling obesity among the working poor.



Photo Source: – REUTERS/Rick Wilking

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