Starbucks will give away 100 per cent of its food waste to those in need

The chain aims to provide five million meals to people who need them

An American coffee giant plans to donate 100 per cent of its leftover food to banks in a bid to combat hunger across the country.

Starbucks will begin a programme known as FoodShare to donate ready-to-eat food to food banks from its 7,600 stores across America.

Working with charity group Food Donation Connection and non-profit organisation Feeding America, the chain aims to provide nearly five million meals to people who need nourishing food.

Currently, an estimated 15 million children live in households in Ameirca where nutritious food is limited. A further 50 million Americans struggle to avoid hunger, according to the US Department of Agriculture.

Feeding America estimates the country wastes around 70 billion pounds of food every year.

Starbuck’s has been working on a plan to minimise food waste since 2010 by working with Food Donation Connection to donate left over pastries.

“The challenge was finding a way to preserve the food quality during delivery,” Jan Maly, brand manager for the Starbucks food team, said in a statement.

“We focused on maintaining the temperature, texture and flavour of the surplus food, so when it reached a person in need, they could safely enjoy it," she added.

Now, all leftover food will be picked up by local charities and delivered within 24 hours.

The idea came from the companies’ team members, according to John Kelly, senior vice president of Starbucks Global Responsibility, Community and Public Policy.

He said: “They saw the need for us to do more, and find a way to use our scale to bring more nourishing and ready-to-eat meals to those in need.”

Other American chains already give away some of their surplus food, including Chipotle, KFC, Taco Bell and Olive Garden.

France recently became the first country in the world to pass a law requiring supermarkets to donate unsold food and forbidding them to throw it away.

Denmark’s capital city Copenhagen opened its first “waste” supermarket in February, called WeFood. It sells food that has damaged packaging or is past its expiry date at a discounted price.