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Founding RLC, Lee discovered he wasn’t the only one offended by the waste in the food industry. RLC helps the retailers who are trapped between their conscience and the need to offer their customers an unceasing abundance of aesthetically perfect food.

“It just destroys me to see it go to waste,” said Philip Penta, an owner of Three Guys from Brooklyn, a 24/7 produce stand and one of the few grocers that has partnered with Rescuing Leftover Cuisine.

“Eye appeal is buy appeal,” Penta said. “Look at these dates. Because the stand is less full, the psychology in the consumer’s head is, ‘If it’s not full, it’s not fresh,’ but the reality is we’re getting these in every day.”

In a typical grocery store, produce with a few dents or dark spots will be thrown out alongside packaged greens that were approaching their sell by dates and bumped by new shipments. Penta’s produce stand still generates enough extra food to make three donations each week, but rather than getting tossed, it goes to St. John’s Bread and Life, where half is used in the kitchen and the rest is given away at a food pantry.

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