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Rethink Food Is Rolling Up Its Sleeves To Help the Hungry

Picture a situation where generous helpings of nutritious food were redirected from getting discarded to being distributed to those in need. It sounds like a dream. However, Rethink Food was able to visualize that concept and make it a reality in New York City, Chicago, Miami, and Nashville, Tennessee. 

Rethink Food has distributed more than 15 million meals to date and given back $50 million to small and medium-size businesses as part of its efforts build a more equitable and sustainable food system. Rethink Food is able to help those most in need of a nutrient-dense meal by collaborating with local restaurants and food vendors. It’s all part of the nonprofit’s mission to mold a more equitable and sustainable food system, especially since the U.S. Food and Drug Administration estimates 30% to 40% of the food supply is wasted.

Working with other nonprofit organizations and food providers to take any surplus comestibles and utilize donated ingredients in its commissary kitchens, Rethink Food has its own fleets of creative chefs who collect fresh vegetables, proteins, and seasonings to cook culturally enriched meals. Donated items with a longer shelf life can be used to make preserved dining enhancements such as jams and soups. The group picks up donated food and on, offers an online application for companies interested in partnering with the organization. Then Rethink Food takes care of the rest, handling the logistics of retrieving and transforming the food and getting it into the hands of hungry folks at no cost to the organizations involved.

Danny Meyer, Union Square Hospitality Group’s founder and executive chairman, sees working with Rethink Food as a match made in heaven. 

Based in Manhattan, he said connecting with Rethink Food is not only beneficial for businesses involved, but it’s critical for community camaraderie. “This community of people who work in restaurants, who work in not-for-profits, who work in food supply — they need each other, and we’ve needed each other more than ever over the past handful of years,” Meyer told Boss Magazine. “I think Rethink played an incredible role.”

Meyer added that he finds the formula of matching overflowing kitchens with people needing food to be something that makes sense, particularly in the context of food equity. He believes that it is a more sustainable and impactful way to address food waster than traditional methods of food donation.

While increased demand for food for many who are struggling stretches across American cities, consultancy firm McKinsey & Company found that even before the chaotic challenges of COVID-19, approximately 37 million Americans were lacking nourishing and safe meals. Since the start of the pandemic and thanks to the decimation of a multitude of jobs, there was a 46% uptick in Americans who are uncertain where their next meal is coming from. With the pandemic negatively affecting so many charitable programs, food pantries and soup kitchens began running short on supplies, making Rethink Food an even more essential part of the equation. 

To bridge the hunger gap, Rethink Food is challenging eateries with its Rethink Certified initiative. To land the certification, a restaurant must produce 50,000 meals per year, and as a result, Rethink Food covers $250,000 in costs.

Rethink Food’s co-founder Matt Jozwiak says at the end of the day, it’s all about making meaningful changes in communities. “I see the benefit,” Jozwiak mentioned to Boss Magazine.

For more information on Rethink Food and how you or your business can get involved, visit