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Corporate Responsibility: Food Companies Step Up Against Hunger
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Corporate Responsibility: Food Companies Step Up Against Hunger - Executive Leadership Articles

Corporate Responsibility: Food Companies Step Up Against Hunger

Executive Leadership Articles

Corporate Responsibility: Food Companies Step Up Against Hunger

Sometimes, corporations looking to make a difference will survey their team members for the causes they’re most passionate about. “Tell us where you want to have an impact,” they ask, “and we’ll try to support it.” Other times, certain outreach opportunities just make sense for the kind of business they do. In the case of hunger and food insecurity, packaged food companies would be a natural fit. Sure, food is a concern for all living creatures, so we all have an interest in alleviating the situation, but food-related companies would appear to have a special mandate, if such mandates exist.

What’s especially convicting is that hunger is a solvable problem, one that doesn’t have to exist, so it is encouraging to see how some major corporations address the problem, in their own backyards and even on other continents.

The South Jersey Food Bank sought ways to increase revenue to cover the expenses of providing food for its neighbors who needed a little bit of help. Local farmers were paying to bury up to 80,000 pounds of edible peaches that did not meet consumer aesthetic expectations: a blemish here, a bruise there. The food bank offered instead to pay the farmers a steeply discounted price for landfill-bound fruit. The Campbell Soup Company turned those peaches into its Just Peachy Salsa, paying for manufacturing and packaging. Its employees volunteer to box and pack the jars for retail distribution. Over six years, profits on Just Peachy Salsa were more than $300,000, all for South Jersey Food Bank’s operations and hunger relief programs.

Hormel Foods also uses its food manufacturing capacity to reach out -- all the way to Guatemala, where its Project Spammy makes an effort to solve the malnutrition problem suffered by many of the country’s children. With advice from the USDA, Hormel created a fortified, spreadable chicken product with Guatemala’s specific nutritional needs in mind, with special attention to mention Guatemala’s culture. Intended to be used as an ingredient, Spammy is compatible with Guatemala’s fare and palate. In studies where schoolchildren were provided meals made with Spammy, cognitive scores went up over a 20-week trial, absenteeism due to illness went down 44 percent, and the children found the food “acceptable.” Since 2008, Hormel has donated 14 million cans of Spammy to 8,300 Guatemalan families with 30,000 children.

The Kraft Heinz company committed to donating one billion meals by 2021, hosting Stop Hunger Now packaging parties as recently as last May, with a gathering in Washington, D.C., where employees, with the help of members of Congress and local businesses, packaged 16,000 meals to feed the hungry. The meals are sachets of soy with micronutrients and rice, and in partnership with the Stop Hunger Now organization, Kraft Heinz has distributed more than 60 million meals.

Both Hormel and Campbell were on the 2018 Corporate Responsibility Magazine 100, an annual list of its best corporate citizens. The list, the only of its kind generated by publicly available data rather than through self-reporting by companies, has Hormel at 16 and Campbell at 12. In a year where it can be easy to lose sight of the good stories in our news aggregators, we can all take encouragement in efforts by companies such as these who continue to serve others even as they compete to thrive in the marketplace.

Reference links
South Jersey Food Bank: https://foodbanksj.org/justpeachysalsa
Project Spammy: https://www.provisioneronline.com/articles/105009-child-nutrition-and-project-spammy-in-guatemala
Campbell Soup Company -- Just Peachy: https://www.campbellsoupcompany.com/newsroom/news/2013/11/21/just-peachy-salsa
Corporate Responsibility Magazine: http://www.3blassociation.com/insights/corporate-responsibility-magazine-announces-2018-100-best-corporate-citizens
Kraft Heinz Company: http://news.kraftheinzcompany.com/press-release/corporate/kraft-heinz-and-national-politicians-join-forces-stop-hunger-now-fight-malnu

 

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Corporate Responsibility: Food Companies Step Up Against Hunger - Executive Leadership Articles

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