What do we mean when we say we rescue “good” food?

Published: April 6, 2023

At Lovin’ Spoonfuls, we often talk about rescuing “good” food that would otherwise be discarded. But what does “good” food mean to us exactly? 

It means providing people with food choices they can eat and enjoy. 

Spoonfuls’ Food Rescue Team get to know what our partners and end-recipients are looking for when it comes to food. What do they need to (and like to!) eat for their health, their cultures, their taste? Our team offers food sourced from area retailers like grocery stores, wholesalers, farms, and farmers’ markets with this information in mind. 

It means we focus on providing food that is nutritious.

Many people facing food insecurity also face nutrition insecurity. This is because some of the most nutritionally-dense foods often come with a high price tag. People can’t always afford things like fruits and vegetables. At the same time, these foods are wasted more than any other category because of their short shelf life. That’s why we work to quickly connect perishable food with programs and people that could use it. Over 60% of what we rescue and distribute is fresh produce, dairy, and meats. We’re focused on meeting the nutritional needs of people facing food insecurity.

It means providing people with food that is otherwise safe to eat.

If food shows any sign of mold, compromised packaging, hasn’t been stored properly, has been recalled, is missing a nutrition label, or is heavily damaged, it’s not fit for human consumption and won’t be rescued by Lovin’ Spoonfuls. Food Rescue Team, our ServSafe-certified frontline staff, work with our food vendor partners to collect excess food that meets our quality standards. 

What we will rescue includes:

  • Close-dated and recently past-dated foods that haven’t spoiled (see our “What you need to know about “expiration” dates” blog)
  • Ripened and even slightly bruised fruits and vegetables (brown bananas are perfect for banana bread!)
  • Foods reflecting a factory error (as long as the nutritional label is intact and accurate – see examples)
  • Other kinds of perfectly good excess foods.

In short: We source food that is safe to eat and the right match for the wants and needs of our end-recipients. If food available for rescue isn’t fit for human consuption, we leave it behind to be disposed of or composted. 

By focusing on rescuing “good” food, we’re able to deliver food with purpose, and we believe keeping dignity in food, keeps dignity in people.

Related reading: Why is there food available to be rescued?