Food waste is a huge problem, with around 119 billion pounds of food thrown away annually in the United States alone, and grocery stores tend to be one of the biggest contributors — especially when stores lose power and end up throwing all of their perishables straight in the dumpster.
However, at one Trader Joe’s where the refrigeration went out, the store and its employees made sure that all that food got to people who could use it by simply giving away everything that was still frozen or cold for free.
Random trip to Trader Joe’s turned into a blessing 😇♬ original sound – Pyxis Princess
“Can y’all tell us what’s going on today? Because I don’t think people believe me,” Pyxis Princess asks the Trader Joe’s employee who is helping her bag up her free groceries.
“So, our refrigeration went out, and so we’re giving away everything that is cold or frozen,” the worker responds.
The video then pans down to show that $2,847.33 worth of food has already been given away, just on that one register.
While food waste can be a complex issue and stores often cite the fact that they must ensure that anything given away is safe for human consumption in order to avoid liability, this practice of Trader Joe’s shows that giving away food that cannot be sold is not nearly as impossible as many grocery chains like to make it seem. Viral videos have captured immense amounts of frozen food being thrown away after power outages at other chains, such as Target, Walmart, and many others.
Trader Joe’s deserves credit for having store policies that do not prevent perfectly good food from being given away when that’s the best option. Another Trader Joe’s in Baton Rouge did the same thing when its fridges went out. Similarly, a Kroger in Arkansas gave away a huge amount of food to a local food bank after a power outage.
Trader Joe’s has also been known to give away past-its-prime produce to local farmers, who can use it to feed animals or as compost.
The commenters on the TikTok video loved what they were seeing.
“All other stores would have thrown it away. This is why I love Trader Joe’s they give it away,” wrote one commenter.
“Life hack unplug Trader Joe’s fridge/freezer,” joked another.
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