Bargain Grocery buys overproduced food from national and local vendors and sells it to community members at a low price. The business is opening its second brick-and-mortar location in New York in Troy, hoping to address a dire need.
“These folks not only don't have access, but whatever they do have access to, they're paying double what you would pay for it. So, they're on limited income, trying to eat well. They can't do it, and it's not right. It's unfair. So, it's called food justice,” said Pastor Mike Servello, Bargain Grocery founder.
Bargain Grocery will offer food for as low as 30% below the big-box store prices, and in some cases, as low as a third of the original price. Available products will include dairy, fresh produce, frozen and prepared food and other grocery supplies.
Local officials say if more businesses could operate like the bargain market, there would be fewer food deserts in the state.
“It really is the way our markets are designed. And, you know, as I understand it, grocery stores operate on a very slim margin. So, they don't go in areas where they can't turn out that volume on a daily basis,” said Troy Mayor Patrick Madden.
In the meantime, more than half of food-insecure individuals say transportation keeps them from accessing food, according to a recent New York Health Foundation survey.
While public transportation is an option for many, data also shows it limits what shoppers bring back.
“We're trying to say, 'Let's create another lane, let's shift the paradigm.' This is the wave of the future,” Servello said.