Sioux Falls business aims to fight food waste and hunger

Sioux Falls business aims to fight food waste and hunger
Published: Apr. 6, 2021 at 6:23 PM CDT
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) -Food waste continues to be a problem across the nation. According to the US Department of Agriculture around 35 percent of the nation’s food supply is never eaten. However, a new business in Sioux Falls is working to fix this problem.

Kristin Johnson is on a mission to keep food out of the landfills.

“I mean sustainability wise, my goodness. I mean, I’m handing a planet off to my children. I mean this just really isn’t waste. This is good product that needs to get into the hands of the consumer who needs it,” said Johnson.

At Fair Market, you can find discounted shelf-stable grocery products. Johnson purchases boxes that are full of salvaged foods from reclamation centers across the US. The items may be a little damaged, shelf-pulls, overstock, or a little past the sell-by date.

“Some of this stuff never even made it to the grocery store because of overproduction or you know a semi rollover on the interstate,” said Johnson.

“There are warehouses full of this stuff waiting for someone to give it a home.”

She never knows what items she’s going to get.

“The first one we used was from Texas. So you’ll see products on the shelf that you probably never find from Sioux Falls,” said Johnson.

Johnson looks at the retail price of each item and marks them down.

“You know, shoot for 60 to 70 percent of retail and that’s kind of where we land. Some of the stuff you’ll find is cheaper, some of it might be a little more,” said Johnson.

This concept is exciting to some shoppers.

“To not throw away this food and especially to make it available to people who maybe want to, you know reduce their grocery budget. I know I coming in here, these prices look amazing and it’s just for a dented box or something,” said customer Sara Wurgler.

Johnson also aims to fight hunger.

“When you look at the distribution errors, hunger is not an acceptable answer anymore when you know there are warehouses of food sitting around.”

She hopes the marked-down prices will help, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“You look around and see how it’s affecting people and how dollars are hard to stretch,” said Johnson.

Fair Market is located at 2512 S. Carolyn Avenue in Sioux Falls. The store is open Monday, Tuesday, Friday, and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. For more information check out the Fair Market Facebook Page.

In 2016, in Sioux Falls alone food scraps and food waste made up 15 to 20 percent of solid waste.

“The food is taking up landfill space and filling it up faster and that contributes to landfill costs...And it also increases our greenhouse emissions,” said Holly Meier, Sioux Falls Sustainability Coordinator.

The city of Sioux Falls is also working to fight food waste. They are exploring different ways to combat it, such as looking at the local food system and ways they can strengthen that.

They are partnering with residents to help update the city’s Sustainability Master Plan. Click here to take a survey where you can share your own ideas on how to combat food waste.

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