National Grocery Chain Plans to Fight Hunger
Company Strives to End Hunger by 2025
One of the nation’s largest grocers last week announced a plan to address what its CEO called the “paradox” of hunger and food waste that is concurrently plaguing American communities.
According to Supermarket News, the Kroger Company’s Zero Hunger | Zero Waste program will strive to end hunger in communities where the company does business, while also eliminating food waste across the company by 2025. The effort includes establishing a $10 million innovation fund through the Kroger Company Foundation.
Throughout the U.S., some 42 million Americans struggle with hunger. At the same time, an estimated 72 billion pounds of food ends up in a landfill. Around 40 percent of the food produced in the U.S. goes unconsumed.
Part of Kroger's plan is to meet or exceed the EPA’s “zero waste” threshold of 90 percent diversion from landfills in its manufacturing and store facilities by 2020. Kroger CEO Rodney McMullen said Kroger remains committed to that goal, having improved to a 78 percent diversion rate in 2016, up from 70 percent in 2015.
The 2025 plan seeks to eliminate food waste through prevention, donation, and diversion efforts and also develop transparent reporting on food loss and waste, the company said.
The initiative also calls for Kroger to provide not only more food but also more balanced meals, McMullen added, empowering associates to identify meat, dairy, produce, and bakery items for donation that remain fresh, safe, and nutritious, which accounted for 46 million fresh meals to food banks in 2016 .