20979_239596689398_1253096_nMany a Cliffster knows the joys of expired groceries thanks to Grocery Clearance Center, our neighborhood purveyor of sundry past-their-date items.

Penny pinchers in Oak Cliff have been buying dented cans and wilting kale there for 20 years. Now expired groceries could become a national food trend.

The former president of Trader Joe’s, Doug Rauch, announced last week that he will open the Daily Table, a grocery/restaurant selling only expired food.

Rauch’s idea was inspired by the estimated $165 million worth of food Americans waste each year, much of it because of misunderstandings about expiration dates.

The Harvard Food Law and Policy Clinic reported recently that Americans throw away 40 percent of our food. We’re ditching tons of food because it is imperfect or because date labeling varies and the wording can be confusing.

Rauch’s concept, which launches in Dorcester, Mass. early next year, takes expired groceries a step further. Daily Table will use groceries that are “not quite up for prime time” to create takeout meals priced similarly to fast food.

For those who say “ew” at the idea of buying expired food, consider, as Rauch told NPR, you’re probably already eating it:

“…without naming the names, one of the leading, best regarded brands in the large, national, food industry — they basically recover the food within their stores, cook it up and put it out on their hot trays the next day.”