Cooperating, but for whose benefit?

I was pleasantly surprised to find this story about food recovery on the MSN home page this weekend. It includes some nice reporting, such as:

Kroger’s Perishable Donations Partnership keeps 40 million pounds of food each year out of the landfill. It also saves each store $500 annually in waste-hauling fees.

Then there was this beaut of a quote from Feeding America’s media guy:

“Food expiration dates are often artificial,” explains Fraser. “If something says, ‘Please use by Dec. 15,’ it doesn’t mean you’re going to die of poisoning if you eat it on the 16th. It means the yogurt’s gotten more watery, (or) the cereal isn’t as crispy.”

But what’s most interesting about the story is the talk of the Renton Community Co-Op, a Washington group where member families take turns collecting food for all co-op members. It’s like any other food recovery group, except it seems (from the article) that the food meets a more middle class end instead of going to those truly down on their luck.

What do you make of that outcome? Are these folks competing with the downtrodden for a food source? Or just doing a shrewd job utilizing food that would otherwise be thrown out?

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