Starbucks Canada to donate unsold food

Starbucks Canada to donate unsold food

The company hopes to rescue 100 percent of food available for donation.


Starbucks Canada has announced the launch of Starbucks FoodShare, a national effort to provide nourishing, ready-to-eat meals to people in need. The company, based in Seattle, says it is making a commitment to rescue 100 percent of food available for donation from its more than 1,100 company-owned stores across Canada. Building on a successful pilot with Second Harvest, the largest food rescue organization in Canada, the program will launch in Ontario starting with more than 250 stores in the Greater Toronto Area by Feb. 22. Starbucks says it is actively working to expand the program to even more cities and provinces, with a goal to have a national solution in place by 2021.

“Wasted food is a wide-scale problem for everyone in the food business, while more than 4 million Canadians are impacted by hunger,” says Luisa Girotto, the vice president of public affairs for Starbucks Canada. “This is unacceptable, and we will help solve this now that we have a way to safely donate chilled, perishable food while preserving its quality.”

Starbucks says it has always donated unsold pastries and baked goods in Canada but wanted to do more.

Starbucks invested in research and quality assurance testing to develop a sector-leading program to safely donate chilled and perishable food to those in need. Now, food items like breakfast sandwiches, paninis, protein boxes, salads, yogurt, milk and dairy alternatives like soy and coconut, can be safely donated and enjoyed by those in need.

Starbucks FoodShare has identified guidelines and developed training on maintaining the temperature, texture and flavor of the food. In turn, Starbucks says Second Harvest will work with local community groups across the province who will collect the food to ensure these food safety standards are met.

“We’re thrilled to partner with Starbucks to support food recovery in local neighborhoods to ensure people have the food they need to be healthy while also making a positive impact on the environment,” says Lori Nikkel, the CEO of Second Harvest. “We all have a part to play in reducing the social and environmental costs of food waste and it’s great to see Starbucks taking a leadership role.”

In addition to combatting hunger, the Starbucks FoodShare program will divert food surplus from landfills, helping to minimize the company’s environmental footprint. In Canada, it is estimated that nearly 60 percent of all food produced is lost and wasted annually, according to a recent study titled The Avoidable Crisis Of Food Waste. To limit the effects of climate change, the United Nations has set a target of halving food loss and waste by 2030.

The movement to donate unsold food has been gaining momentum globally, Starbucks says, with consumers showing increased concern for the greater issue of waste. Starbucks says it plans to build on its history of sustainability by:

  • Achieving 99 percent ethically-sourced coffee
  • Offering a discount to any customer who brings a reusable cup or tumbler to company-owned stores around the world
  • Introducing a strawless lid and eliminating plastic straws globally by 2020
  • Founding the NextGen Cup Challenge and investing $10 million to bring a fully recoverable hot and cold fiber cup to a global scale
  • Doubling the number of Starbucks cups that contain 10 percent post-consumer fiber by 2022
  • Building more than 1,500 LEED-certified stores in 20 markets, including Canada
  • Purchasing Renewable Energy Certificates, currently covering 62 percent of its electricity usage globally, with a goal of reaching 100 percent globally by 2020