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Trader Joe’s Doug Rauch

In this Feb. 11, 2008 file photo, a customer departs Trader Joe's in Los Angeles.  (AP Photos/Ric Francis, File)

(Ric Francis,/AP)

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, almost 17 million children — or one in five Americans — suffer from food insecurity, which means they don’t have consistent access to enough nutritious food.

On the other hand, American supermarkets and grocery stores throw out about $47 billion worth of food every year — 10 billion pounds of it, much of which is perfectly good and nutritious.

Doug Rauch, the former president of Trader Joe’s, has an idea: reclaim that discarded food and create healthy meals for low-income customers. Rauch founded the Urban Food Initiative, which is planning to open its first food store that will take advantage of that excess food, in Dorchester.

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Doug Rauch, former president, Trader Joe’s.

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Boston Globe “Rauch said he knows the concept may at first sound unpalatable, maybe even objectionable, but he’s convinced that his Urban Food Initiative has merit. The idea is to take food “waste” — perishables at, near, or past their expiration date that supermarkets throw out daily — and turn it into healthy meals priced like a McDonald’s Big Mac. Rauch compares the nonprofit’s mission to the work of Goodwill, which resells donated clothing at affordable prices.”


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