food insecurity

Program Aims to Save Shoppers Money, Cut Down on Food Waste at Grocery Stores

So far, 34 Stop & Shop locations in Massachusetts are using Flashfood, an app that connects shoppers with grocery stores that have food items nearing their best-before dates and may otherwise end up in a landfill

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A program being made available at dozens of Massachusetts Stop & Shop locations can save customers money while also limiting waste.

One in three Massachusetts adults is experiencing food insecurity, according to the Greater Boston Food Bank, and rising prices have exacerbated the problem.

The Flashfood app aims to help by connecting shoppers with grocery stores that have food items nearing their best-before dates.

"Folks are saving thousands of dollars on their grocery bills, cumulatively throughout the year, using Flashfood," said Josh Domingues, the app's creator.

Domingues says average grocery stores throw out between $5,000 and $10,000 worth of food every day. Flashfood allows customers to select foods that may otherwise be discarded for a discounted rate and pick them up at a local grocery store.

"The ability to now access healthy, fresh food at a more affordable price, there's longstanding impacts to what that can do for children who are eating healthier, or for families that are able to stretch their budget a little bit further and have more food at the table," Domingues said.

Flashfood is in 34 Massachusetts Stop & Shop stores, and nearly 70 across the Northeast. The company wants them in 300 locations by summer.

"We want to make sure that people have the ability to save and they have this resource that they know is available to them," said Maura O'Brien, Stop & Shop's manager of external communications.

Flashfood also aims to help the environment.

"The statistic is if international food waste were a country, it'd be the third leading cause of greenhouse gas emission behind the U.S. and China," Domingues said.

Stop & Shop says it has diverted over 170,000 pounds of food from going to landfills, reducing carbon emissions.

"All of the food that they purchased through Flashfood is diverted from a landfill," O'Brien said. "Those were items that, had they not sold and they stayed on the shelf, and we needed to ultimately discard them, they would have ended up in a landfill, but now, customers are able to buy them at a discount and do the right thing for the environment."

Domingues says that more grocery stores have been reaching out to his company, and that his goal is to be nationwide by the end of 2023.

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