Starbucks to donate 100% of unsold food in US

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(CNN Money)- Starbucks wants to donate all of its leftover food to the hungry.

The company said Tuesday that it will aim to contribute “100%” of its leftover food to Feeding America — which runs a national network of food banks — from its 7,000-plus U.S. locations by this time next year.

The idea didn’t come from Starbucks’ corner offices — it came from baristas behind the counter.

“Our people just felt so badly. And this has been going on for quite some time. And so we started doing our homework– municipality by municipality,” Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz said in an interview with CNN’s Poppy Harlow.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that 30% to 40% of America’s food supply is wasted.

At the same time, a significant number of Americans go hungry. According to the USDA, 48.1 million — or about one in seven — Americans lived in households in 2014 that, at some point during the year, were unable or unsure of where to get their next meal.

“I’m always trying to educate myself on the current social issues of our time,” Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz told CNN’s Poppy Harlow. “And one of them is the fact that there are so many people in America that do not have the next meal to eat.”

Starbucks plans to have given out 5 million meals — including breakfast sandwiches, paninis and salads — by the end of 2016. The company has invested in research to determine the best way to ensure food stays safe until it is consumed.

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