Donating Unsold Food

donating unsold food is good for business

If you have a food related business, whether it’s a bakery or a catering company, odds are that you have items leftover at the end of the day. Have you considered the possibility of givng back to the community by donating your leftover food and ingredients?

Donating Unsold Food Is Cost Effective

There are a lot of good reasons to donate your leftover foods but one of the best is that it will save  you money in the long run. Think about it. You’ll be able to take a tax write off for the value of the food that you donate. That’s a big bonus right there but it’s not the only one. Since you’ll have less waste headed out the door and down the drain it stands to reason that you waste disposal costs will be reduced as well.

Make Sure It’s a Qualified Organization

Keep in mind that you can only write off deductions made to qualified charities. Food banks, religious organizations, non-profits, and similar organizations are usually OK. If you plan on using it as a deduction be sure to check with your tax consultant to make sure. You can also check the database on the IRS website.

Putting a Value on Your Donation

When you  make donations of ingredients you can usually only deduct the price you paid for them. In some cases the IRS allows you to deduct part of the value of meals that are donated to an approved agency as well. As a general rule the deduction is equal to 1/2 the foods appreciated value or not more than twice the basic cost of the food. So, if you have fifty servings of 12.99 a plate lasagna left over and you plan to donate it to Meals on Wheels, for example, you can put a value of  $6.49 on each plate as long as your per plate cost was at least $3.49. You must base your deduction on fair market value and the IRS may challenge the value you claim. Be ready to defend your position with reciepts and other pertinent information.

Donations evaluated at less than $250.00 do not need to get a receipt.

Donating Leftover Food Builds Community Loyalty

You can’t put a monetary value on everything. Community loyalty is huge. When you have a reputation of caring about the people in your community that can’t afford your services you’ll build a large client base of appreciative people who can.

Every community has a percentage of hungry people. The news is full of stories about children who go to bed hungry every night. With the economy as bad as it is there are more people that need help than there are finances and organizations that are available to help them. Many organizations are happy to pick up your unsold food every night. It helps them to stretch the funds they do have.

Donating Leftover Food Makes You Feel Good

Sometimes it just feels good to do the right thing. It isn’t helping you to throw that food out but those meals could make a huge difference to ten, twenty, or more people. The ingredients that are aren’t enough to do anything with in your busy kitchen are just exactly enough for that small homeless shelter to feed five extra people, whether you ever see a tax deduction for it or not.

Stop looking at your leftover food as waste and begin looking at it as the potential to change someone’s life. Donating unsold food just makes sense.

photo credit: Alameda County Community Food Bank via photopin cc

- Marye Audet

Marye Audet is an author, freelance writer, and editor. Cooking, baking, and recipe development have been a major part of her life since she baked her first loaf of bread at age 13. Luckily, with a husband, eight children, a son in law, and three grandchildren she has enough test-tasters to handle the steady stream of experiments that come from her kitchen.

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