Starbucks is changing its food safety policies to foster food donation, as the chain says it plans to donate 100 percent of its unsold meals within the next five years.
The chain’s new FoodShare program—which will be carried out in conjunction with nonprofits Food Donation Connection and Feeding America—will donate ready-to-eat meals from its 7,600 U.S. company-owned stores, Starbucks said.
The coffee giant’s previous policies required that unsold sandwiches, salads and other premade items be thrown away when their expiration dates passed, regardless of whether the food was still safe for consumption.
Starbucks said it will donate close to 5 million meals to food banks in the coming year, and up to 50 million meals by 2021. The chain said the program was inspired by its employees, who “saw the need” for it to do more.
“Our hope is by taking this first step, other companies will see the possibility for their participation and together we will make great strides in combating hunger,” Cliff Burrows, Starbucks group president for the U.S. and Americas, said in a statement. “FoodShare will not only make our partners proud, but once again will allow us to live our values.”
FoodShare is far from Starbucks’ first attempt at amassing positive sentiment through support of the communities that sustain its business.
Starbucks’ brand perception has taken a hit in recent weeks, as customers have voiced issues with the loyalty program changes the chain plans to roll out in April.