New Grocery Store Model Provides Good Food at Cheaper Prices

In Finance and Budget, Food by Megan Toombs Kinard1 Comment

The former president of Trader Joe’s, Doug Rouch, has opened a grocery store for “surplus and aging food,” according to NPR. The store, called Daily Table, was rolled out in a lower income neighborhood of  Boston as a nonprofit. The food is donated by other grocery suppliers.

What’s surprising is that someone hasn’t opened a store like this previously. It’s a fabulous idea! Grocery stores throw away a lot of edible food because it no longer looks picture perfect, or because the food is expired. Oftentimes expired food can last quite a while past the expiration dates.

There are ways to tell if food is bad. Don’t buy a can with a dent in it or that is misshapen Don’t buy glass jars that are cracked or have discolored food in them. Meat should not smell bad, or be green or off color. It’s basic common sense, but if you do have a question about a particular food, you could check this website out.

According to the NPR report this new grocery store faced significant opposition from critics who claimed Rauch was “dumping food rejected by rich people on the poor.”

What a ridiculous objection! One I’m 99.9% certain was not raised by someone who ever struggled to put food on the table.

That objection also assumes only “poor” people will shop at this type of store while wealthier people will continue to shop at regular grocery stores. While that may be true if these grocery stores are only placed in very low income locations, if they are placed in accessible locations to those of higher incomes, I believe they will shop there too.

There is an idea in our culture that if something is higher priced, it’s necessarily better or of higher quality. That is not necessarily true.  Our culture should not associate high bills with being “high class, “rich,” or “successful.” Instead, Americans need to begin cultivating a culture of respect for those who steward their resources wisely.

Being frugal does not equal cheap—it equals smart!

What do you think? How much money could you save per week shopping at Daily Table? What would you do with that extra money?

On A Side Note:
I am curious to see how the nonprofit model works as this idea catches on, and they try to grow the chain, or as more competition enters the market.  It may be that they will move away from the nonprofit/food donations model, and towards a for profit model which might encourage more stores to be involved and make at least a little money off food they can’t sell.  I suspect the question to ask here is whether the tax incentive to donate is worth more than the amount made off selling the food.

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Megan is the Director of Communications for the Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation, and Editor of You can follow her on Twitter @MeganToombs.



    Yes, this sounds like a good idea. Also, it’s good for college students, young workers, and elderly people who might not qualify as “poor” but still want to keep their grocery budget low to afford healthcare, maintain their savings, or just to be able to enjoy recreational activities. If you have the time free, then you could shop daily so as to use up the items before they perish, and some recipes like banana bread or banana pancakes actually require well- matured, not to say nearly rotten, bananas to taste really good.

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