Food Waste and Feeding the Hungry

The Lempert Report
July 28, 2022

Today’s  Lempert Report is about food waste and feeding the hungry. This past 4th of July the American Farm Bureau released its annual BBQ prices – and this years prices are up 17% over last year – which already had double digit increases. Is there relief in sight? I think not – the way for shoppers to ease the inflation strain, in my opinion, is simple. Don’t waste so much. Buy – and use – what you need. On a larger level the same rule applies and Food Rescue Hero mobilizes a community of 34,000 volunteer drivers across 27 cities to bring surplus food from grocers and restaurants to people in need. 

Food Rescue Hero redirects nutritious surplus food away from the waste stream and bring it within reach for the food insecure is ever more vital. It’s all done through an app – and as a result they have  recovered over 100 million pounds of good food.The Food Rescue Hero app integrates last-mile logistics and community engagement to make food recovery operations manageable. Since retail food recovery is unpredictable, variable and time-sensitive, coordination is key to a food recovery operation's success. The app automates the time-consuming tasks required to identify available, retail surplus food and notify volunteers about the logistics involved to claim it.

Then the app guides a volunteer every step of the way, from pick up to delivery, making it easy to claim and complete a food rescue in about 30 minutes. Food Rescue Hero volunteers deliver on 99% of available rescues, a higher service rate than some commercial food delivery services. Its important to note that this on-demand model is able to capture many foods that are not easily transported by large trucks or stored in warehouses, since they are mostly perishable and not shelf stable. Fresh foods make up only about 15% of all national food donations. In contrast, 87% of surplus retail food is fresh and nutritious. 50% of the food donated by retailers is fresh produce — fruits and vegetables — which is becoming some of the most inaccessible and yet vital food types for those experiencing food insecurity. A University of Pittsburgh study concluded that 86% of the individuals who received deliveries from Food Rescue Hero in the region reported that they ate healthier food as a result. In redirecting over 100 million pounds of food away from the waste stream, Food Rescue Hero has also mitigated the equivalent of 54.3 million pounds of CO2 emissions. Discarded food makes up the largest single source of material in landfills and is one of the biggest contributors to emissions of the potent greenhouse gas methane.  Want to join the effort?  Just visit to become a hero in your community.