Innovation That Matters

Pay as you go store | Photo source Gemma Evans on Unsplash

Startup opens pay-what-you-can food store


A new grocery store from a Canadian startup sells food using a pay-what-you-can system to help reduce food waste and combat hunger.

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Canadian startup, Feed it Forward, aims to help reduce hunger and eliminate food waste by encouraging Canadians to donate their unused and unsold food. In addition, they collect unsold food from farmers, distributors, restaurants and grocery stores that would otherwise go to landfill. Their latest initiative is a retail store in Toronto at which customers will pay what they can for their food.

Opened by Feed it Forward’s founder, chef Jagger Gordon, the store includes a bakery, café, rooftop garden and a soup bar. The store works by collecting unused and unwanted food from both individuals and establishments. This includes food which is bruised, misshapen or close to expiration. Feed it Forward also uses a selection of the produce from their farm in Whitby. It then sells the food back to the public for as much or as little as they can pay. For example, some customers may choose to pay a larger amount to help others who cannot afford to pay for food. Furthermore, families can only select a day’s worth of food. This is to make sure that the store’s food does not run out of stock each day.

At the moment, Canadian legislation does not permit food establishments to donate their unused food to those in need if the produce is close to its labelled expiration date. Feed it Forward’s initiative aims to work around this prohibition to help address the issue of hunger in Canada. Another innovation that seeks to eliminate food waste is food app from the US which connects food pantries. Also from the US, these food containers alert users when the food inside is about to expire. What other innovations can offer new ways to feed the hungry with items that would otherwise be thrown away?



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