A New Kind of Food Pantry: Social Supermarkets

With massive cuts to SNAP and food pantries struggling to meet the rising demand of their services, it’s time to think outside the box in how to approach and solve the problem and food insecurity. And that’s exactly what’s happening in Europe.


These Social Supermarkets are pretty cool, at least to me, for many reasons.

First, they take perfectly edible food that would have otherwise been thrown away and redistribute it to those who are hungry and willing to eat the asymmetrical apple. Landfills aren’t filled with food, but bellies are.

Secondly, it’s not a hand out. Patrons “buy” the food on the sliding scale. This creates a sense of pride for those individual served as they are not receiving charity. They are a customers and the pride that comes with that can be priceless.

Third, the money generated by these stores is capital for them! The money in turn is used for case management, cooking classes, etc and furthers the non-profits mission.

I’m really excited for the model of “food-pantry” and hope it becomes as widespread in the US and it is in Europe. What do you think? Do you like this model? Do you know of agencies in the states that use it? How do you feel this model could address food deserts?