Photo by Laurie James.

It seems inconceivable in a town with so much food inequity that tons of our food supply still end up in landfills. Alas, it does — here, there, everywhere. Food waste makes up nearly a quarter of all U.S. landfills. Professionals call this “surplus food,” which implies that, if it’s extra, it can be donated to organizations like the Tarrant Area Food Bank.

While Fort Worthians can take advantage of the City of Fort Worth’s Residential Food Waste Composting program, restaurants and grocery stores create the bulk of wasted food. About 20% of this “surplus” is prepared foods (the donuts, burgers, fried chicken, and more not sold at the end of the day), and that waste is hardest to repackage and reuse. Milk and eggs make up 15% of the food waste (which is a shandeh considering the price of these items right now), and over a third of “surplus foods” destined for the landfills is produce.

Enter: Town Talk Foods.


With three locations in Tarrant County (Fort Worth, Weatherford, and now Arlington), Town Talk has been around for seven decades. The store uses a combination of massive bulk purchasing and repackaging to leverage substantial savings for consumers, which is great. And those food items are kept out of landfills, so it’s a win-win.

Town Talk’s repurchased items nearing their sell-by dates and items that perhaps did not sell as well as their fancy brand manufacturers thought can usually be had for super-cheap.

Eating more plant-based these days? Town Talk’s freezers are stocked with some good, inexpensive vegan choices.
Photo by Laurie James.

The chain is a certified food repackager, which means that they can buy oversupply from restaurants and large food distributors and resell the perfectly useable goods. If it doesn’t bother you that your dried beans, spices, and other bulk items are in plastic or paper bags that don’t have fancy labels, you’ll save some money while stopping these foodstuffs from ending up in a landfill.

I acknowledge there are folks in town who have depended on this store because the cost of food staples is still insane –– nationally, food inflation was at 3% for last year, down from over 6% in 2021. However, Town Talk is a veritable treasure hunter’s paradise, especially if you love brand labels or have special dietary needs or preferences –– gluten-free and vegan convenience foods are cheaper here. The weekly produce deals (Town Talk’s fresh shipments hit on Saturday mornings) are plentiful as well, assuming you’re happy to shop from boxes and shopping carts rather than well-lit displays.

Weekly staffer and affirmed Town Talk devotee Jennifer Bovee recently took me to the Arlington location for a little show and tell. Here’s what I found.

Vegans will love the sticker on this vegan Mac & Cheeze.
Photo by Laurie James.


  • For fancy or organic brand connoisseurs, the 32-oz. Pacific Foods Free Range Chicken Broth (a staple in my kitchen) was 99 cents. The stuff retails for over $4 at Sprouts or Whole Foods. Bonne Maman fruit preserves in the 13-oz. jar were $1.99. The plum flavor costs over $5 at most retailers. And Justin’s Almond Butter was $3.99, compared to $7-plus at Target in Mansfield.


  • For the vegans, Quorn Meatless Chipotle Cutlets ring up for $2.99 at Town Talk instead of over $4 at Sprouts or Whole Foods. Green Giant Dino Veggie Tots cost $1.99, when they routinely run $3.97 in a local Walmart freezer case. And Daiya dairy-free Mac & Cheeze was a steal at $1.99 when compared to the average $4-plus at several grocery outlets.


  • In the produce section, the Driscoll’s Rainbow Pack (a combo of fresh blueberries and raspberries) was $2.50 instead of the over-$5 for one at Sprouts.


  • Finally, legendary Cowboy Troy Aikman’s bespoke Eight Light Lager was $5.99 for a 12-pack. The stuff runs between $12 and $16 for the same amount at Tom Thumb, Albertsons, and Walmart.


Full disclosure: The chicken broth and almond butter I bought were past their “Best if Used By” dates. The FDA says that term has more to do with when the product is best to use from a quality perspective, but unless the item looks bad or has changed color, whatever you’re buying can be used after this date.

Whether you’re shopping for bargains, shopping on a real budget, or shopping to fight food waste, or if you want to shop at a local regional grocer, Town Talk Foods takes the cake.

If you’re not picky about how your produce is displayed — and why should you be? — you’ll find good stuff, freshly delivered to Town Talk Foods every Saturday morning.
Photo by Laurie James.
You recognize this jam. It’s the fancy kind, and that’s the real price at Town Talk Foods.
Photo by Laurie James.
The chicken broth is a staple in most of our kitchens, and that’s not a typo on the price.
Photo by Laurie James.
Justin’s Almond Butter is twice as much at Target, and Troy Aikman’s bespoke beer is available at a good price at Town Talk.
Photo by Laurie James.
Photo by Laurie James.