Uber Acquires Postmates For $2.65 Billion To Expand Food Delivery
Uber has agreed to acquire Postmates in a $2.65 billion deal in stock, better positioning Uber Eats to compete with DoorDash, which is the most widely used food delivery platform in the U.S., according to analytics firm Second Measure. “Uber and Postmates have long shared a belief that platforms like ours can power much more than just food delivery,” said Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi. “They can be a hugely important part of local commerce and communities, all the more important during crises like COVID-19.” The merger creates the second largest food delivery company in the U.S., condensing delivery apps to three major options for consumers: Doordash (45% market share), UberEats/Postmates (37%), and Grubhub (17%), according to industry analysts Edison Trends. Uber Eats may integrate certain Postmates services, says Khosrowshahi, such as its $9.99/month subscription that provides no-fee delivery on orders over $12. .
Joey Chestnut And Miki Sudo Set World Records In Hot Dog Eating Contest
Competitive eater Joey Chestnut set a new world record at the 104th annual Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest by eating 75 frankfurters in one sitting. In the women’s competition, Miki Sudo also set a record, taking 1st place with 48½ frankfurters, beating the previous record of 45 set by Sonya Thomas in 2012. Due to COVID-19, the contest was held at a private location in New York with no audience and plexiglass dividers between the competitors, who were spaced six feet part. Chestnut has won the contest 13 times since 2007, including five wins in a row with his last loss to Matt Stonie in 2015. Sudo commented to all her fans watching at home, “I wish you could be here, but it means a lot to know you’re cheering back home.” .
Why Mayonnaise Is The MVP Of Summer Sauces
Mayonnaise is one of the most versatile and useful sauces for summer meals. Of course, it’s perfect for a variety of cold sandwiches, and you can even spread some on the outside of griddled hot sandwiches such as grilled cheese, Reubens, or croque monsieur, where it creates a delicious brown crust. You can also spread a thin layer of mayo on grilled meats and fish to help your spice rub adhere and help keep the meat or fish from sticking to the grill. Mayonnaise makes the perfect base for doctoring up to create a slew of different sauces, too. Mix in some minced ingredients you’ve got a delicious tartar sauce for breaded and fried fish or chicken: minced onions or shallots, parsley, sweet pickle relish, capers, and maybe some prepared horseradish do the trick. Or add Dijon mustard and minced tarragon as well to make remoulade. Sriracha sauce makes sriracha mayo. The adobo liquid from canned chipotles en adobo makes chipotle mayo. Or make pesto mayo, barbecue mayo, wasabi mayo, or ssamjang mayo.
Uber Launches Grocery Delivery Service
Uber Technologies Inc launched its grocery delivery service in several Latin American and Canadian cities last week. The service will reach the United States later this month. Uber’s latest move was made possible through a partnership with Cornershop, a Chilean online grocer in which Uber has had a majority stake since October. The Uber Eats app now allows consumers to order groceries from local stores and chains in Montreal, Toronto, eleven Brazilian cities such as Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo, four Chilean cities, as well as Bogota and Lima in Colombia and Peru. According to Uber, the U.S. rollout will begin later in July with service from regional merchants in Miami and Dallas. Uber claims to have about 9,500 active merchants, and its grocery-convenience orders have increased by more than 176% since February.
Too Soon? Virus Shaped Foods Pop Up Around The World
Bakers and chefs have been cooking up coronavirus shaped cakes, cupcakes, and other foods, but some think it’s too soon, especially considering that COVID-19 has killed more than half a million people worldwide and 134,000 people in the U.S. Chicago’s Michelin 3-star restaurant Alinea, owned by Nick Kokonas and Chef Grant Achatz, was recently in the middle of a controversy regarding a dish that depicts a close-up image of the novel coronavirus served at their new rooftop patio. Many have responded on social media, saying the canapé is disrespectful. “Unbelievable,” wrote restaurant veteran Dave Baker on Instagram. Baker previously worked at Alinea’s sister restaurant Roister, and said on Instagram, “This isn’t ok…this isn’t ‘cute.’ This is shameful. How unbelievably disrespectful to anyone who’s life has been lost.” Other coronavirus shaped cupcakes and decorated cakes have been served all over the world, from places like Sweet Treats by Angie Higgi in Thousand Oaks, California. For some, these virus shaped foods bring a moment of levity during difficult time, but for others they bring a twinge of pain. .
Goya Foods Faces Backlash From Core Hispanic Market
Last Friday, Robert Unanue, the CEO of Goya Foods, attended the announcement of the White House Hispanic Prosperity Initiative, newly created to advance education and career opportunities for Hispanic Americans. During a speech at the White House Rose Garden in support of the initiative, Unanue said, “We are all truly blessed at the same time to have a leader like President Trump who is a builder.” Unanue’s praise came at a time in the President’s re-election campaign when a national poll by Reuters shows that only about 25% of registered Hispanic voters would vote to re-elect him. Despite the White House initiative, Hispanic community leaders were quick to denounce Unanue’s comments, calling for a boycott of Goya Foods. The boycott gained steam on social media with support from prominent Hispanic voices, including Julian Castro and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, two prominent politicians in the Democratic party. A few days later, a “buy-cott” movement gained steam in support of Goya, and a GoFundMe campaign created by Casey Harper, a producer for conservative political commentator Eric Bolling, raised more than $100,000 to donate Goya products to food pantries in the Washington D.C. area. Goya claims to be the largest Hispanic-owned food company in the United States, offering more than 2,500 products, and often fills entire aisles of grocery store shelves across the U.S. .
Heinz Releases “Creamz” Kits For Condiment Flavored Ice Cream
Heinz has announced DIY “Creamz” kits, allowing consumers to make their own ice cream flavored with Heinz condiments. Flavors include mayo, BBQ, salad cream, MayoChup and ketchup. According to Heinz, the ketchup ice cream kit is currently sold out. The kits come with a recipe card, a reusable tub for making the ice cream, a golden spoon, an ice cream scoop, and a full-size bottle of the chosen condiment flavor. Kits sell for around $17 and are only available in the U.K. Heinz has no plans to bring the kits to the U.S. but has released the condiment ice cream recipes online.
Sur La Table Files For Bankruptcy, Closes Nearly Half Its Gourmet Stores
Sur La Table, the luxury kitchen retailer that offers extensive in-store cooking classes, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last week. The Seattle-based retailer announced that it will close 53 of its 121 stores around the country over the next few months. The company also aims to sell up to 70 stores to Fortress Investment Group to shore up its finances. Sur La Table emphasized in a statement that it is not going out of business but was forced to close stores as “a result of the financial impact of the COVID-19 crisis.” Two capital investment groups have been hired to conduct liquidation sales, which are expected to take eight to 12 weeks.
Tavern On The Green Outfield: Minor League Ballpark Becomes A Bistro
Like many baseball teams, the Boston Red Sox minor league farm team, the Pawtucket Red Sox, was forced to cancel its 2020 season due to the coronavirus. But this season would have been a celebration of the team’s 50th anniversary of playing at the Pawtucket, Rhode Island field at McCoy Stadium, and its last year ever. The league announced it would be moving the team to a field in Worcester, Massachusetts, as of 2021. To salvage the planned 50th anniversary celebrations, team vice chairman Mike Tamburro hatched a plan based on local officials’ announcement that limited outdoor gatherings were still permissible. Starting in June, Tamburro and his team launched “Dining on the Diamond,” an outdoor picnic held on the stadium’s well-manicured outfield. The first weekend’s 20 tables and two seatings sold out in 88 minutes with hamburgers, hot dogs, French fries and nachos on the menu. The picnic quickly grew to include a third seating, more tables (spaced 14 feet apart), and an expanded menu offering lobster rolls, a barbecue platter, and chicken Caprese. The events have been staffed by team officials, and diners at each table receive a miniature keepsake replica of McCoy Stadium to take home. Dining on the Diamond has been a home run, as more than 2,600 families are currently on the waiting list and those who’ve scored a table have relished the opportunity to put their toes on the outfield of their baseball heroes. “This kind of idea could be groundbreaking for the industry going forward,” said Tamburro. “Can you imagine Fenway Park doing this when the Red Sox are on the road?”
Two Top New York Culinary Schools Join Forces
By the end of this year, the International Culinary Center (ICC), formerly known as the French Culinary Institute, will be closing its doors in Manhattan, New York. ICC has entered into a licensing agreement with the Institute of Culinary Education (ICE), which has locations in Manhattan as well as Los Angeles. ICC plans to reopen as soon as New York City enters Phase 4 of its reopening plans, allowing enrolled students to complete classes until the end of the year. At that point, the two culinary schools will effectively become one as part of the agreement. Many notable New York City chefs have graduated from ICC, including Blue Hill’s Dan Barber, David Chang, Angie Mar, and Christina Tosi. Chefs Jacques Pepin, André Soltner, Alain Sailhac, and Jacques Torres have also been longtime instructors at ICC. Rick Smilow, president and CEO of ICE, hopes that ICC’s instructors will continue to teach as part of the combined school’s programming. Smilow says he “expects to bring aspects of their expertise, unique offerings, and heritage to ICE.”
British Government Offers $625 Million In Discounts To Spur Restaurant Spending
Britain’s new “Eat Out to Help Out” initiative offers diners a 50% discount of up to £10 per person on meals from Monday through Wednesday. The plan includes the equivalent of up to $625 million in discounts. “This moment is unique. We need to be creative,” said Finance Minister Rishi Sunak. The discount can be used unlimited times and will not apply to alcohol. Sunak also announced a temporary cut in VAT sales tax, bringing the usual 20% down to 5% for eat-in or hot takeaway food from restaurants, cafes, and pubs. As in other countries, Britain’s foodservice industry has been devastated by the pandemic. Once employing 1.8 million workers, the industry is now suffering thousands of job losses. “The measures announced today are extremely positive…and they should give many businesses in our sector much-needed help to get going again in earnest,” said Kate Nicholls, chief executive of industry lobby group UKHospitality.
Here Are The World’s 10 Oldest Restaurants And Their Signature Dishes
The oldest restaurant still operating in the world dates back to 803 CE, according to a list put together by NetCredit financial services. St. Peter Stiftskulinarium in Salzburg, Austria is widely regarded as the world’s oldest restaurant, and its signature dish is tafelspitz, a Viennese classic of simmered beef with apples and horseradish. The world’s next oldest restaurant is Historische Wurstkuchl in Regensburg, Germany. Founded in 1146, this restaurant is world famous for its charcoal grilled sausage and sauerkraut. Just a year later in 1147, The Old House was founded in Maesteg, Wales. This historical eatery has been fully restored to its original glory and still features a signature dish called the Old House Pie with a filling that changes daily. In China, Ma Yu Ching’s Bucket Chicken House in Kaifeng, Henan, first opened its doors in 1153, and the restaurant still serves buckets of chicken to this day. .
College Student Collects More Than 6,000 Northeast Restaurant Takeout Menus
Noah Sheidlower, a sophomore at Columbia University, has collected over 6,000 takeout menus from restaurants in the northeast U.S. and Canada. Begun when he was 12 years old, Sheidlower’s collection got its start when his father handed him a menu from a Queens, New York empanada restaurant. “I really didn’t know what I was getting myself into,” Sheidlower says. Stored in plastic bins, cardboard boxes, and plastic bags, the menu collection once had an organizational system, which has since fallen by the wayside due to the collection’s sheer size. Growing up near Queens gave Sheidlower plenty of opportunities to explore the borough’s diverse culinary scene in search of good food and menus. He even published a Queens food guide based on his explorations. Family trips throughout the Northeast U.S. and Canada also allowed the menu hobbyist to compare local specialties across regions. While college studies now take most of Sheidlower’s time and attention, his menu collection could be an invaluable resource for a culinary library, such as the ones at the New York Public Library and the University of Toronto.
The Sioux Chef Opens Indigenous Food Lab
The Oglala Lakota chef Sean Sherman began his Indigenous catering and education company, the Sioux Chef, in 2014. The Sioux Chef has since won two James Beard Foundation awards for his leadership and a cookbook. Over the next few months, Sherman and his partner Dana Thompson will open the Indigenous Food Lab in Minnesota as part of their nonprofit organization, North American Traditional Indigenous Food Systems (NATIFS). The Indigenous Food Lab will feature a restaurant, a training kitchen, and an education center, as the NATIFS furthers its mission of Indigenous food education.
Sherman and his team will invite Indigenous communities from around North America to use the lab to both learn about, share, and serve dishes from North American regional food systems. The restaurant will be open to the public, abiding by social distancing guidelines during the pandemic. The restaurant will only serve pre-colonial food, so there will be no dairy, wheat flour, refined sugar, beef, pork, or chicken on the menu. Instead, the restaurant, training kitchen, and education center will feature traditional Indigenous North American foods like wild rice, corn, beans, bison, and foraged mushrooms, which will be sourced from local Indigenous farmers.
Grubhub’s State Of The Plate Report Reveals Trending Food Orders
As with other meal delivery services, Grubhub’s business has skyrocketed during the pandemic and now averages 500,000 food orders per day. To help show what Americans are eating, the company recently released its “State of the Plate” report based on user data. The runaway success of Popeye’s chicken sandwich last year prompted other restaurants to add the item to their menus, and as a result, chicken sandwiches saw a 299% increase in orders in the first 6 months of 2020, according to Grubhub. Orders of plant-based burgers rose 291%, and those for iced lattes rose over 200%. Meal kits have also been popular with 55% more orders for do-it-yourself burgers, lobster rolls, salads, pizzas, and gyros compared to last year.
Japanese Milk Bread Takes Hold On U.S. Menus
Similar to an American pullman loaf of bread, Japanese milk bread has a softer, creamier texture from a unique method of cooking the flour in the dough. Milk bread is usually made with the tangzhong method, similar to a making a roux, in which water, milk, and flour are mixed into a slurry and heated in a saucepan until thick. This pre-cooking gelatinizes some of the starch in the flour, and when the slurry is added to the dough, it creates a creamier, fluffier, softer texture in the finished loaf. Japanese milk bread also gets a rich texture and some sweetness from additions of butter and sugar. In Japan, this type of bread is used in everything from egg salad sandwiches to katsu sandos (breaded and fried pork cutlet sandwiches). It’s as common as sliced white sandwich bread in the U.S. Now, Japanese milk bread is showing up on more and more U.S. restaurant menus. According to research from Datassential, the bread can be found on 400% more U.S. restaurant menus than 4 years ago.
Japanese Women Revitalize Sake Industry
Miho Imada of the Imada Shuzo Honten sake company in Hiroshima is the 3<sup>rd</sup> generation toji (brewmaster) and now the 5<sup>th</sup> generation owner to manage the 152-year old company. Before assuming her position as toji, the brewery always outsourced the position, usually to men. Imada initially sidestepped the sake industry, despite being raised in the family-owned brewery, but when she saw domestic sake production declining drastically, she came home from Tokyo at age 33 to study sake-making under the toji in 1994. She succeeded the toji in 2000, then she became managing director at the brewery when her father stepped down in 2018. Imada’s sake has since gained her numerous accolades, including nods at the 2016 Annual Japan Sake Awards, the UK’s 2017 International Wine Challenge, and the 2017 Kura Master in France.
Imada says that 30 years ago most guests at sake tasting events were male, but now there is a greater female presence. Monica Samuels imports Imada’s sake as director of Sake and Spirits at Vine Connections, and adds, “Sometimes I get the feeling that Miho wishes people were interested in more than just her being a woman in the business when they talk to her, but I think she doesn’t realize how much of a role model she is to women who are trying to chase after their career without feeling like they have to live up to society’s expectations.“
IPA Beer Lovers Take More Risks, Study Says
Researchers from the Penn State Sensory Evaluation Center recently studied 109 beer consumers, mostly in their 30s, about half women and half men, and published their findings in Science Daily. Study subjects took personality tests and then drank blind samples of Budweiser (a mild lager beer), Founder’s All-Day IPA Session Ale (a somewhat bitter ale), and Troeg’s Perpetual IPA (a very bitter ale). Researchers originally theorized that people who taste bitterness more intensely would have an aversion to bitterness and would be more likely to enjoy more mild-tasting beer. However, study results showed the opposite: those who have an acute taste for bitterness crave intense sensations and are more likely to choose bitter beers. “Traditionally, most researchers find that people who experience bitterness more intensely avoid bitter food or drink—so with heightened bitterness, they like it less, and therefore consume it less,” said researcher John Hayes, associate professor of food science at Penn State. “But here, we find that people who seek higher sensations and are more risk-taking, they like bitter beer such as India pale ales, if they also have greater bitter taste perception.” .
Global Meat Consumption Predicted To Decline Until After 2025
Data from the United Nations predicts that worldwide per-capita meat consumption will drop by almost 3% in 2020 to its lowest levels since 2011. In the U.S., researchers at the University of Missouri’s Food & Agricultural Policy Research Institute, predict that this year’s per-capita meat consumption will decline for the first time since 2014. U.S. meat consumption is not expected to return to pre-pandemic levels until 2025 at the soonest. In the European Union, pork consumption is expected to fall to a seven-year low in 2020, with beef and chicken also dipping down. In China, which accounts for 40% of the world’s pork consumption, consumers are expected to eat 35% less pork this year, according to Beijing consulting firm Bric Agriculture Group.
One reason for the decline is the economic fallout from the coronavirus, particularly the recession in the United States, as consumers tighten their wallets at the meat counter. Restaurant closures and limited dining out options have also suppressed demand and wholesale orders of meat. Before the pandemic, about 50% of U.S. meat consumption took place outside the home, according to Boston Consulting Group. While cooking at home, American consumers don’t appear to be allocating quite as much money for meat. Experts also cite the rise in plant-based eating and meatless options in grocery stores and restaurants as other factors.
Farm System Reform Act Aims To Help Small Regional Farmers
In 1980, 34% of pigs in the U.S. were slaughtered by four massive meatpacking companies. By 2015, that number rose to 66%. Similar consolidation has taken place across the agricultural industry for decades, resulting in monopolies that exert extraordinary power over how farmers must raise their products and how much money farmers are able to make. Farm incomes have not changed for the past 30 years when adjusted for inflation, according to USDA data. In 2018, most U.S. farms lost money, and the median farm income was negative $1,840. To help small regional farmers gain more control over their own production systems and get paid fairly, Senator Corey Booker introduced the Farm System Reform Act late last year. The act, among other things, creates a $100 billion fund to help farmers currently running concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) transition to less-intensive operations. The act also re-directs financial liabilities from independent farmers to the agricultural conglomerates that contract with them.
Vermont Becomes First State To Ban Food Scraps In Trash
Effective this month, Vermont has banned single-use products, including plastic shopping bags, straws, and stirrers, as well as styrofoam takeout containers. Also, the state no longer permits residents to throw food scraps into the trash. Food such as egg shells and vegetable and fruit trimmings must now be composted, separately binned for collection, or taken to a recycling center. “If we were to compost Vermont’s food waste that’s in the trash right now, it would reduce greenhouse gas emissions equal to taking about 9,000 cars off the road,” said Josh Kelly, the Materials Management Section Chief of Vermont’s Department of Environmental Conservation. The new law makes Vermont the first state to prohibit throwing food scraps in the trash, according to Fast Company. While law enforcement personnel will not be digging through trash for contraband food, the state has invested about $970,000 in grants to build out its composting infrastructure. And lawmakers trust that most residents will gladly comply on their own. According to a University of Vermont study, 72% of Vermonters were already composting at home or feeding food scraps to livestock, according to a University of Vermont study. Surprisingly, only 55% of the study respondents said they were in favor of banning food waste from landfills. .
U.K. Supermarkets Reject Chlorinated Chicken In Blow To U.S. Trade Deal
Top U.K. supermarkets Tesco, Waitrose, Sainsbury’s, The Co-op, Aldi U.K., and Marks and Spencer have said that they will not sell chlorinated chicken or hormone-injected beef from the U.S. The rejection is meant to uphold UK food standards rather than forego them to close a post-Brexit trade deal. The U.S. President has been firm that American agricultural goods must be a part of any free trade agreement between the U.S. and U.K. Currently, the U.K.’s food standards do not allow importation of chlorinated chicken and hormone-injected beef. However, last month, the U.K. government dropped its pledge to ban the products in 2021, when Britain will no longer be bound by European Union trade rules. Despite dropping the ban, several top U.K. supermarkets reiterated that they would never stock the products. Multiple U.K. Members of Parliament and a handful of Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Conservative party have pushed for Johnson to decline U.S. agricultural imports and uphold the E.U.’s higher food standards. More than one million Europeans have also signed a petition requesting that the U.K. government block food imports that do not meet the U.K.’s standards of animal welfare, environmental protection, and food safety.
Robot Butchers Offer Hope To Beleaguered Meatpacking Industry
Tyson Foods currently relies on about 122,000 employees to process 1 in every 5 pounds of chicken, beef, and pork produced in the United States. On average, large meatpacking plants owned by Tyson, Cargill, JBS, and Smithfield pack 3.2 workers per 1,000 square feet of manufacturing space, according to industry analysts Boston Consulting Group (BCG). That worker density has been increasing in recent years, according to BCG, and is now three times the national average for most manufacturers. While executives of Tyson and other top producers report that robots cannot disassemble animal carcasses with small differences in size and shape the way humans can, they are looking for solutions to worker concentration and safety issues that have troubled the industry since the pandemic began. In response, Tyson’s Manufacturing Automation Center offers a glimmer of hope. Tyson opened the center last summer and has invested nearly $500 million in technology and automation over the past three years. While fine cutting in meatpacking plants, such as trimming fat, must be done by human workers, Tyson’s automation team (which includes former auto industry designers) is helping to transition from human butchers to robotic ones for tasks such as sawing and deboning.
Buffet And Cafeteria Food Sales Take A Nosedive
Pizza Hut, Ponderosa Steakhouse, Bonanza Steakhouse, and other restaurant chains have suspended use of their dining room buffets to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus. Las Vegas casinos have also postponed their popular self-service buffets. Likewise, Whole Foods Market, Wegmans Food Markets Inc. and other grocery stores have closed their popular salad bars and hot food bars. According to Nielsen data, salad bar sales in grocery stores this June are down 95.5% since the same time last year, and sales of self-service bars are down 71.5%.
According to the NPD Group, restaurant buffets account for roughly 1% of the annual $500 billion in overall restaurant sales. The FDA’s recommendations to suspend buffets as well as state guidelines to eliminate buffet service in at least 38 states have contributed significantly to financial losses at restaurants. Eager to resume dine-in services, restaurants are still grappling with how to incorporate or whether to eliminate their buffet and salad bar services. In May, Garden Fresh Restaurants, which owns about 100 Souplantation and Sweet Tomatoes restaurants that are based on expansive food buffets, filed for bankruptcy, as sales dropped dramatically and the company saw no clear model for takeout.
Wearable Tech Necklace Tracks Food Intake To Help Optimize Diet
NeckSense is a new necklace designed by Northwestern University researchers to help wearers understand, either on their own or by working with health professionals, what factors or behaviors trigger bingeing or overeating. The necklace contains a tiny wearable camera with sensors that record activities such as dietary intake and heart rate. Researchers refined the wearable tech after testing it on 20 study participants with and without obesity and publishing the study results in the journal of the Association for Computing Machinery. “The ability to easily record dietary intake patterns allows dieticians [sic] — or even laypeople making use of our tech — to deliver timely digital interventions that occur as eating is happening to prevent overeating,” said lead study author Nabil Alshurafa, an assistant professor of preventive medicine at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.
100% Solar Powered McDonald’s Serves As Company’s New Sustainability Lab
McDonald’s recently opened a 100% solar power restaurant at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida. The new location has 1,066 solar panels on its roof and 1,500 square feet of panels on its outside porch. The restaurant’s windows open and close automatically to bring in cool air. Running an establishment on fully renewable energy is “still sort of at the technological edge for buildings,” said Carol Ross Barney, principal at Ross Barney Architects, who spearheaded the new location’s design. “For a restaurant, the biggest energy use is in cooking,” said Ross Barney, “especially in a high-volume restaurant like this one at Disney World.” The company is testing new cooking equipment to reduce energy use as well. “McDonald’s isn’t going to turn around tomorrow and tell all the franchises that they have to have and put solar panels all over their store,” say Ross Barney. “But I do think that there will be some applications that can be used in all stores, and will be used in all stores, in the future.”
Sidewalk Refrigerators Offer Free Food In New York City And Around The World
As the pandemic strains food banks and hunger relief efforts worldwide, volunteers have begun a simple solution: community refrigerators, sometimes nicknamed “friendly fridges.” In New York City, anyone in need is welcome to take food from these sidewalk refrigerators. “Take what you need, leave what you don’t” is a common sign on the fridges, which are cleaned and stocked by volunteers every day. Volunteers also request and coordinate food donations from local restaurants and grocery stores, gathering unsold and unused items that may otherwise have been destined for the trash. Even before the pandemic, 1 in every 4 New Yorkers were food insecure, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture estimated that roughly 30% of the country’s food supply went to waste. These trends are echoed around the world, as the data from the United Nations indicate that as many 270 million could become food insecure before the end of 2020, an 82% increase since the pandemic began. To combat the growing hunger problem, public refrigerators have proliferated around the world. Freedge.org, a database and network of free food refrigerators, lists dozens of these so-called “freedges.”