The World's First Pay-What-You-Can Grocery Store Opens In Toronto

July 7, 2018

A new grocery story has opened in Toronto but there's no price tags on anything. That's because everything in the 1,100-square-foot market is pay-what-you-can.

pay what you can grocery store

The food for the world's first pay-what-you-can grocery store comes from food terminals, farms, restaurants, cafés, supermarkets and bakeries. None of it is expired or rotten, but companies are getting rid of it for reasons such as the produce being naturally bruised or misshapen, or there's too much to store in warehouses.

"There are big companies that have a lot of (food) stuff stored away in big warehouses and not all of it is sold," said store owner Jagger Gordon, a Toronto chef and founder of the Feed It Forward initiative. "There's nothing wrong with the products we get; some stores just mandate that the food can't sit longer for four or six months on the shelf. For example, we have pet food here that's still six months away from the optimal freshness date."

Gordon says customers are limited to a day's worth of food for a family so that the shop can feed as many people as possible, or people can sign up to have a box of packaged foods and produce with recipes sent to them on a biweekly basis.

"The concept behind the store is showcasing how Canadians can utilize the food that's destined for landfills: perfectly edible food that shouldn't be thrown out and can be filling the empty bellies of our citizens," Gordon told The Star.

The Feed It Forward shop is largely funded by Gordon's catering business and fundraising efforts. If you would like to donate to the nonprofit or volunteer at the grocery store, visit the Feed It Forward website.

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