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Local organization diverts food from landfill to give to families in need

An estimated 35% of all food produce goes unsold and uneaten
An estimated 35% of all food produce goes unsold and uneaten 04:04

MINNEAPOLIS -- The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency says a family of four in Minnesota could save $1,200 a year by reducing their wasted food. At the same time, one in 12 households in Minnesota experiences food insecurity that could be alleviated by something called "food rescue."

Five days a week, Carl Bartell from Second Harvest pulls in and loads up at a Cub Foods in Lakeville. It's a food rescue mission in action, to keep the stuff out of the landfill. He goes to multiple locations a day to stores like Cubs, Sam's Clubs, Costco, and Lunds and Byerly's.

"Each day it's a different amount. Sometimes I get nothing, sometimes I get a palate," he said.

All of the products will go straight to a local pantry.

"We want the product that Cub has donated today to be part of someone's meal tonight," Bartell said. "It's a win for the environment; we rescued 37 million pounds of food last year."

Nearly 10 million pounds of it came from 68 Cub locations throughout the state.

Andy Mathews, a retail operations manager at Cub, says they don't sell anything with cosmetic blemishes or wrinkles, but it goes instead to food rescue. 

They also have a fruit program, where they can repurpose and sell old fruit. Some stores have juice programs, and others go to animal feed barrels that farmers pick up. Some things, like packaged salad, goes to Second Harvest. 

And more families are looking for help; food shelf partners tell Second Harvest that visits are up as much as 30%.

Cub has been part of the food rescue program since 2007. 

If they're donating roughly 10 million pounds of food a year. That's 150 million pounds of food that have skipped the landfill and gone to our neighbors in need. 

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