How ethical is the Grocery Outlet?

4 out of 5 Green Stars. Ethical rating for social and environmental impact of the Grocery Outlet.

This post is going to be a short version of a post that I published earlier in 2020 on the Green Stars Project: Ethical review of the Grocery Outlet.

What exactly is an ethical review? Well, it’s basically a review of a product or business in which the rating is for social and environmental impact.

Normally we rate products for price and quality and this is usually summed up as a rating somewhere between 1 and 5 gold stars.

The goal of the Green Stars Project and the posts on this site is to include the rating for price and quality as normal, but also to include a rating for social and environmental impact, summed up as a rating somewhere between 1 and 5 green stars.

Perhaps the best way to explain it is by example. So here’s my Green Stars review of the Grocery Outlet store as a whole:

Grocery Outlet – ethical review

Overall, I think that the Grocery Outlet deserves 4/5 Green Stars for social and environmental impact, based on these factors:

  • Stocking food that would otherwise be in danger of being tossed out because of packaging changes, overstock, imperfections, or looming expiration dates, is part of the solution to the huge problem of food waste.
  • Stores have been trending towards stocking more plant-based and organic food.
  • The Grocery Outlet stocks a good number of brands that rate well ethically, making them available to low-income people that may otherwise have trouble affording them.
  • A good number of these brands are also smaller, local companies.
  • On Glassdoor you can get a feel for how happy employees are at the Grocery Outlet. The average rating for Grocery Outlet is decent at 3.4 out of 5 but the stores are independently owned so experiences vary. For example, an employee at a San Francisco store mentions good benefits including full health insurance, while employees at another store seem to receive minimum wage and no benefits. So it’ll vary from store to store.
  • They have an annual Independence from Hunger campaign that raises funds or food donations for local shelters and food banks.

So there you have it. A score of 4/5 is decent. There’s room for improvement but it’s better than average, in my opinion. The rest of this site will be dedicated to individual products that I purchased at the Grocery Outlet. The goal here is to eventually start seeing your opinions too!

According to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization, 30 percent of food is wasted globally across the supply chain, contributing 8 percent of total global greenhouse gas emissions. If food waste were a country, it would come in third after the United States and China in terms of impact on global warming. –  Washington Post.

Published by jkaybay

I have two sites, both focused on ethical consumerism. The Green Stars Project ( aims to start a movement based on crowd-sourced ethical ratings. Ethical Bargains ( is focused on new products that I've bought at the Grocery Outlet.

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