Wednesday, July 27, 2016

A food program, better than food stamps

Project Status: Still Dreaming

Problem

There are lots of hungry people, struggling to make it by, while at the same time restaurants and supermarkets throw away tons of perfectly good food on a daily basis.

Workaround

There are many programs such as food stamps here in America but most programs don't capitalize on the vast amounts of food already being wasted.

Solution

The government could introduce an incentive program to encourage both restaurants and supermarkets to make this food available for those in need before it goes to waste.

People could enroll in the government program to get a swipe-able identification card. The main need for this card is to track usage of the program for business owners. The more people that are helped by a business the more of a reward the business should earn, up to some cap. A reward such as a tax break.

The hard part about a restaurant is that while lots of perfectly fine food is thrown out daily, due to its time sensitive nature it can often only be "food safe" for a few hours. The government program would need some means for restaurants to post specific times which the food will normally be available.

Many buffets, for example, operate on a normal schedule and could make these times known. Food which is given out should also be labeled or marked with an expiration time, seeing as in most cases the food only actually has what's left of a four hour "food safe" window.

As far as supermarkets go, as food is reaching expiration, it should become available for this program. This way food which would have expired and couldn't have been sold, now has a purpose and is helping those who need it most.

Lots of food is not even near expiration but gets tossed because of the way it looks, fruits and veggies for example. Food which does not meet the standards to be sold to the general public, but has nothing actually wrong with it, should be used in this program instead of thrown away.

For the end user's sake, I think there should also be some way of noting with the identification card what kinds of limits or stipulations there should be. Food allergies for example would be a great item to note as well as which language is spoken by the card holder.

Also notable would be if the card holder is able to store food. This is important because you don't want to give several servings of an item to someone who can't properly store it. Without being able to keep larger quantities of food at proper temperatures, the end users would be at a far greater risk of food poisoning or having to actually throw the food out themselves.

Summary

The overall goal is to save food which would be headed for waste by making it easily available to anyone in need of it while at the same time doing everything possible to keep companies and the government from abusing the system.