Approximately 35% of the food produced in the U.S. -- or 62 million tons -- goes to waste every year. And 40% of that food waste comes from consumer-facing businesses, including independent food retailers. By reducing food waste by just 20% over the next decade, the U.S. could prevent nearly 18 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions each year.
With increased market share, growing industry sales and a workforce of 1.1 million, the independent grocery sector has a huge opportunity to reduce food insecurity for tens of millions of Americans. However, it’s widely recognized that limited time and staffing can pose the biggest threat to retailers rescuing food. Feeding America’s MealConnect, the free, easy-to-use digital platform for retailers to donate wholesome surplus food directly to local network food banks and pantries, is an intuitive food rescue solution that solves resourcing problems, strengthens community relationships to address food insecurity and saves time for employees.
Feeding America launched MealConnect in 2017 to make food donations from shops and restaurants simple, free, and safe. The platform is available everywhere in the U.S. and has already helped to rescue nearly 3 billion pounds of donated food with more than 10,000 nonprofit partners. But with so much more work to do, MealConnect has made it easier than ever to help connect your donation to members of your own community.
How to Use MealConnect
If you’re a food retailer, or any member along the supply chain that generates surplus food, getting started with MealConnect takes just a few simple steps.
- When your location has surplus food that you’d like to donate, go to MealConnect’s secure website or download the MealConnect app on Apple or Android.
- Next, specify your location and information about the quantity and type of food you’re donating.
- When you’ve finalized your donation, you’ll be connected with a local food shelf or pantry to schedule a pick-up time.
- Once scheduled, you’ll receive a confirmation email and a volunteer from the food shelf or pantry will pick up the donation. The local Feeding America food bank is on call to ensure everything is handled safely and quickly.
Benefits of Rescuing Food
- By decreasing the amount of food waste that is sent to landfills, you are reducing your location’s impact on the contributing factors of climate change
- The Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Food Donation Act protects you from liability
- Your customers will support your donation efforts and your donation is tax deductible
Through MealConnect, Feeding America has provided communities with nearly 2.5 billion meals through more than 7.2 million pickups to date. To get started with MealConnect today and reduce your impact on food waste and climate change, visit www.mealconnect.org to learn more.