Kroger Announces $10 Million Zero Hunger | Zero Waste Pilot
CINCINNATI, OH - If you think taking on Amazon will be a tough mission to tackle for Kroger, try taking on national hunger and food waste. In a new $10 million program dubbed Zero Hunger | Zero Waste, one of the nation’s largest grocery retailers is launching a national effort to both end hunger in its communities and eliminate waste across the company by 2025.
“No family in a community we serve should ever go hungry, and no food in a store we operate should ever go to waste,” said Rodney McMullen, Chairman and CEO. “More than 40 percent of the food produced in the U.S. each year goes unconsumed, while one in eight people struggle with hunger. That just doesn’t make sense. As America’s grocer and one of the largest retailers in the world, we are committing to doing something about it.”
For the new initiative, Kroger looks to take on the paradox of both food insecurity and food waste existing simultaneously. The company projects that approximately 42 million Americans struggle with hunger, while an estimated 72 billion pounds of food ends up in a landfill every year. With Zero Hunger | Zero Waste, Kroger will invest $10 million in a fund that tackles both issues in a variety of ways.
“We don’t–and we won’t–have all the answers,” said Jessica Adelman, Group Vice President of Corporate Affairs. “While we are clear about our vision, we are flexible about how to get there. We are working closely with both Feeding America and World Wildlife Fund (WWF), our longstanding partners, to develop transparent metrics to track our progress.”
In a press release, Kroger outlines the following goals as part of its latest plan:
- Accelerate food donations to provide three billion meals by 2025 to feed people facing hunger in the places Kroger calls home.
- Donate not just more food, but more balanced meals via Kroger’s fresh food donations program. Kroger has been feeding people facing hunger since the company’s inception in 1883 and as a founding partner of Feeding America.
- Advocate for public policy solutions to address hunger and to shorten the line at food banks, lobbying for continued funding of federal hunger relief programs, and for public policies that help communities prevent and divert waste from landfills, including recycling, composting, and sustainability programs.
- Achieve all Zero Waste 2020 goals outlined in the annual Kroger sustainability report.
- Eliminate food waste by 2025 through prevention, donation and diversion efforts in all stores and across Kroger. Develop transparent reporting on food loss and waste.
- Join forces with both new and longstanding partners to identify opportunities, leverage data, and determine where by working together Kroger can help the most.
- Transform communities and improve the health of millions of Americans by 2025 by making balanced meals more readily available, sharing scalable food waste solutions with other retailers, restaurants and local governments, and working within Kroger’s supply chain to reduce farm-to-fork food loss.
“Zero Hunger | Zero Waste is a vision for the America we want to help create with our associates, customers and stakeholders. This is our moonshot,” McMullen said. “We recognize we have a lot of work to do. But we know when Kroger’s more than 443,000 associates put their passion to work to make something happen, we can uplift our communities, the planet, and each other.”
If you'd like to follow Kroger on its mission or join the conversation yourself, visit thekrogerco.com and #ZeroHungerZeroWaste.