For 31 years, Doug Rauch helped Trader Joe’s Company grow from a small operation in Southern California to a national chain that has more than 400 stores these days. Now Rauch — who served as Trader Joe’s president for 14 years before retiring in 2008 – has a new grocery store in the works that’s rather unconventional.
The Daily Table, Rauch’s Dorchester, Massachusetts-based store and restaurant, will open its doors in May. When it does, the nonprofit will sell surplus food from supermarkets and growers, including some that is past its “sell by” or “best used by” date.
As Rauch explained in this ajc.com article, he hopes to make food more affordable for poor households in the Dorchester area. “Most families know that they’re not giving their kids the nutrition they need, but they just can’t afford it, they don’t have an option,” Rauch said.
“A lot of food is wasted (because) consumers do not know what all the dates mean,” said The Daily Table’s Fredi Shonkoff in this article. “They’re not standardized or regulated. We need to do a lot of education so that people aren’t tossing perfectly healthy, nutritious food.”
Like other grocery stores, the Daily Table will inspect deliveries and sort out bad product before placing it on the floor. It will also offer prepackaged items that can be turned into a healthy dinner (for example, chopped vegetables with a recipe for stir fry) and prepared meals that can be chilled or frozen for later.
If the Dorchester store does well, the Daily Table will expand to other areas within Massachusetts. Food industry executives in other cities, such as Los Angeles, Chicago and Philadelphia, have expressed interest in having a store in their area.
That reaction seems consistent with Rauch’s long-term vision. “This was always intended to be a large-scale project, if the concept is proven to be effective and sustainable,” he said. “These are large ‘ifs,’ but I believe within the range of being achievable.”