Daily Table opened its doors Thursday with shelves full of surplus and aging food.
The nonprofit grocery store is in the low-to-middle income Boston neighborhood of Dorchester. It’s selling canned vegetables two for $1 and a dozen eggs for 99 cents. Potatoes are 49 cents a pound. Bananas are 29 cents a pound.
“That’s good. It’s cheap! Everything good,” says Noemi Sosa, a shopper marveling at the prices that — for Boston — are phenomenally low.
The reason these prices are so low? Most of the stock is donated by food wholesalers and markets. It either didn’t sell or it’s surplus.
Grocery stores like Trader Joe’s aren’t donating any food to Daily Table yet, but the plan is to get food from them eventually, too.
It was Doug Rauch, the former president of Trader Joe’s, who came up with this concept. He was frustrated by the amount of nutritious food that went into dumpsters, just because it was nearing its sell-by date. Meanwhile, millions of people don’t eat very well. But Rauch had to fight the critics, who said he was just dumping food rejected by rich people on the poor.
Rauch first announced he would open the store in September 2013.
“It’s been a long time coming,” he says.
Checking out with the cashier, customer Manuel Goncalves admits he surveyed the expiration dates before putting food in his basket.
“I looked around, I saw the date. I saw the food being prepared in the back,” he says. “And I felt comfortable to come back and buy as much as I can.
His groceries come to $30.46. “That’s it? Wow!” he says.
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