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FAQ

What is food rescue?
Food rescue involves taking excess food that is not salable (but is still tasty and nutritious) and distributing it to those who need it. The food, which would otherwise be discarded, is not spoiled, rotten or “out of code.”

How can my non-profit organization partner with Spoonfuls to obtain food? Please click here to contact us.

What are the benefits of food rescue? Isn’t it just easier to compost leftover food?
In addition to keeping food out of landfills — thereby mitigating the negative environmental effects that wasted food has on our environment — food rescue addresses food insecurity and improves access to healthy food for people who need it. While composting is certainly valuable for food that can no longer be consumed, we believe that distributing fresh, healthy food when it can be consumed, has a greater human impact.

Where does rescued food come from? Where does the food go after it has been rescued?
Lovin’ Spoonfuls works with over 75 vendor partners, including local grocery stores like Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s and Roche Bros., as well as produce wholesalers, farms, and farmers markets to source fresh produce, whole grains, dairy, and lean protein… healthy foods that people facing food insecurity need. We pick up and deliver to non-profit partners – pantries, meal programs, shelters, and more – same-day. 

How big is the problem of wasted food? 
Food is wasted in enormous proportions, not only in Massachusetts but also across the country and the world.  Here are some facts about food waste – all pre-pandemic figures.

    • The amount of food Americans waste every day (between 35-40% of the food produced1) is enough to fill the Rose Bowl stadium in California.
    • Decomposing food in landfills emits methane, a greenhouse gas that is 25 times more potent than carbon dioxide.
    • Nearly one quarter of total freshwater consumption per year is used to produce food that is ultimately wasted.2
    • On a per capita basis, food waste represents 1,250 calories of food per person per day.3

Why do businesses have such huge amounts of food waste?
There are many reasons why businesses waste so much food. Consumer preferences and company standards for perfect-looking produce cause supermarkets to reject or discard produce with even minor, superficial imperfections. Supermarkets must cater to customers’ needs, which means they remain fully stocked at all times, even if that results in wasted food. In most cases, it is easier for supermarkets to throw food out at the end of the day than to find another home for it.  That’s where Lovin’ Spoonfuls comes in — we offer a simple, streamlined service for food vendors that provides them a tax break, reduces trash collection costs, and allows them to help feed people in their own communities.

How is Lovin’ Spoonfuls different from a food bank?
Food banks rely on warehouses and other overnight storage facilities to maintain their inventory of primarily non-perishable goods. Lovin’ Spoonfuls utilizes a direct distribution system. We pick up food and deliver to our non-profit beneficiaries in the same day. We do not store or ‘bank’ food because we work primarily with perishable products. Direct distribution helps to ensure direct access.

How can I contribute? Will Lovin’ Spoonfuls pick up leftover food from my house? And what about volunteer opportunities?
There are lots of ways to get more involved in efforts to waste less food, to support food rescue and Lovin’ Spoonfuls!

That said, we don’t pick up from individuals’ homes. Our food is sourced exclusively from big-shelf retailers like grocery stores, wholesalers, farms, and farmers markets.

Interested in volunteering? We have limited opportunities available and, when we do, they’re posted to our website and social media. See here.

One simple way to help is to give. Every $1 we receive allows us to feed a person for the day. You can donate on our website or even launch your own crowdfunding campaign.  

What is the Massachusetts Commercial Organics Waste Ban, and how does it affect your work?
The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) established an organics waste disposal ban that would apply to businesses and institutions disposing of one ton or more of food waste per week which went into effect on October 1, 2014. If a business disposes of one ton or more of food per week, they are affected by the measure and could face penalties if not compliant.

We are encouraged by the regulations put forth by the Massachusetts DEP to reduce food waste in landfills. We are working with the DEP and the Massachusetts Food Association to educate businesses on their options for diverting food waste from the waste stream. We hope to form new partnerships with food businesses looking to donate excess food in compliance with the regulations. More information is available here.

Where can I learn more about food waste in America?
One good resource is ReFED. Another is Jonathan Bloom’s blog, Wasted Food, as well as his excellent book, American Wasteland: How America Throws Away Nearly Half of Its Food (and What We Can Do About It)