Back at it again with the big plans! Starbucks, as previously mentioned, frequently finds themselves entrenched deep in controversy, but they consistently find a way to come out on top. Today Starbucks is focusing on the good side of their ongoing balancing act.
The coffee house has announced plans to donate 100% of unsold food. Hooray! As we’ve said before, food waste in the United States is a HUGE problem. The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that 30 to 40% of America’s food supply is wasted. With people struggling to fill their bellies every day, this wastefulness is downright appalling.
Fortunately, some food companies have decided to take action against this massive problem. Whole Foods recently announced they would test a pilot initiative to sell “ugly,” but perfectly healthy produce, rather than dispose of the products.
Other companies like Taco Bell, KFC, Cheesecake Factory, and Olive Garden have also made an effort to reduce food waste.
As it happens, Starbucks has been donating unsold pastries to a food collection service since 2010, but at the insistence of company employees, they’ve decided to take things a step further.
We would guess that this comes as a surprise to former Starbucks employee Coulson Loptmann who was fired back in 2013 for removing and eating a discarded (but perfectly preserved) sandwich out of a garbage can after a long shift. Coulson, who relied on food stamps to make ends meet, figured he’d do as most people in his situation would and, after the sandwich had been marked as “out of stock” by another employee, he fished it from the trash. When a manager found out, Coulson learned that it was against company policy to eat food that had been thrown away because it could be dangerous to his health, and he was fired.
Does this mean that either Coulson deserves compensation, or to be rehired (though we doubt he wants to be), or that the food Starbucks plans to donate today is actually not safe for consumption?
Following today’s announcement, Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz said they are creating a plan to donate food that is more consistent than it has been in the past. The company is researching ways to contribute fresh and perishable food to their donations while sustaining food quality.
By the end of 2016, Starbucks plans to give out 5 million meals, including breakfast sandwiches, paninis, and salads.