Whole Foods is getting heat on social media after a self-proclaimed dumpster diver posted videos to TikTok claiming that one location is throwing away large amounts of unexpired food that the anonymous user says should have been donated rather than tossed out.
TikTok user @dumpsterdiverfreegan has made a splash posting a series of videos purportedly showing big hauls of food she took from an undisclosed Whole Foods location, and the top post has been viewed more than 2.7 million times.
"Every time I come to this particular store, I find cases of organic food that is thrown out well before its ‘best by’ date," the TikTok user says, claiming, "Last night, I found enough meat to feed an entire community."
Several of the dumpster diver's posts are now being shared by users on Twitter, and the reaction on both platforms has been overwhelmingly critical of not only Whole Foods, but retailers at large who throw out items that appear perfectly fine.
Dumpster Diving Freegan said on TikTok that she began to "investigate further" after fellow user @Clown posted a video Clown claims was made while she was a Whole Foods employee, where she showed bakery items she was allegedly told to throw away one day.
"There is no food shortage," Clown, the purported former Whole Foods worker, writes, saying, "corporations are throwing it all away." Clown's post also has the hashtags #Ihatecaptialism (sic) and #retailproblems.
Dumpster Diver claims that after seeing Clown's video, she went to a local Whole Foods and found "nearly 100 loaves or packages of bread" along with foods with a longer shelf life, such as baby food and olive oil, all unexpired. She told her followers that she donated 90% of it. She also says none of the items were recalled.
The TikToker also claims she found discarded nonperishable items such as packages of toilet paper in the same Whole Foods dumpster.
Dumpster Diving Freegan's videos do not disclose the location of the Whole Foods she claims is throwing away the items – possibly because dumpster diving is illegal many places, and she has not yet revealed her identity or whereabouts.
Retailers throw away food for a variety of reasons besides expired best by dates, such as when refrigerated goods are left at room temperature or there is suspected contamination of some sort.
Whole Foods has a number of initiatives for donating foods and reducing waste.
A spokesperson for the company told FOX Business that it has donated roughly 180 million pounds of food since 2013 through its Grocery Rescue Program, donated over 27 million meals to food rescue programs last year alone, and gives millions of pounds of both perishable and non-perishable foods each year through its partnership with Food Donation Connection.
The Amazon-owned grocer is also in its second year of its Nourishing Our Neighborhoods program, which provides refrigerated vans to community-based food rescue programs. It expects that initiative alone will divert more than 29 million pounds of food from landfills each year and "rescue" 560,000 pounds of food per week.