Across the United States, 42 million Americans struggle with hunger. At the same time, an estimated 72 billion pounds of food ends up in a landfill every year. Kroger wants to change that.
“We know that 40% of the food produced in the U.S. each year goes unconsumed while 1 in 8 people struggle with hunger,” said Melissa Eads, corporate affairs manager for the Kroger Nashville division. “Our Zero Hunger Zero Waste plan is our commitment to do something about that. We are working to end hunger in our communities and eliminate waste in our company by 2025. Engaging our communities around this issue is also part of the plan.”
Kroger is also crowdsourcing for solutions, asking communities, partners and other stakeholders to help provide ideas, feedback and best practices as the effort evolves.
“We don’t – and we won’t – have all the answers,” said Jessica Adelman, Kroger’s 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 the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), our longstanding partners, to develop transparent metrics to track our progress.”
“And we are inviting everyone who is passionate about feeding people and protecting the planet to join us in our mission to end hunger in our communities and eliminate waste across our company by 2025,” Ms. Adelman added.
Here are some of the steps Kroger is taking as part of the Zero Hunger Zero Waste initiative:
- Establish a $10 million innovation fund within The Kroger Co. Foundation to address hunger, food waste and the paradoxical relationship between the two.
- Accelerate food donations to provide three billion meals by 2025 to feed people facing hunger in the places Kroger calls home. In partnership with its customers, associates, and other partners, Kroger has donated one billion meals via combined food and funds donations since 2013.
- Donate not just more food, more balanced meals via Kroger’s industry-leading fresh food donations program.
- 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.
WHAT CAN I DO?
Lisa Zwack, Kroger’s head of sustainability, shares these 10 ideas about how everyone can reduce food waste at home.
- Plan ahead. Make a meal plan for the week and use it to create your shopping list. That way you’ll buy what you need and help head off waste before it happens.
- Take stock. Shop in your refrigerator and pantry first. Know what you already have before purchasing more – a strategy that will save you money AND reduce waste.
- Be realistic. For staples like condiments, juices and snacks, include realistic quantities on your list, so you don’t overstock and run the risk of them going bad before eaten.
- Mind the dates. Be sure to eat foods with the earliest expiration date first.
- Get creative. Vegetables and fruits that are beginning to wilt may still work perfectly for soups, stocks, smoothies and casserole dishes.
- Store Properly. This means keeping bananas, apples, and tomatoes separate, washing berries and grapes just before you eat them to prevent mold, and keeping fruit and vegetables in different refrigerator drawers.
- Freeze freely. Make your freezer your ally. Consider bagging and freezing extra fruits and veggies, especially during peak seasons. Bread and baked goods freeze well and can be portioned directly out of the freezer to minimize waste. Preserving and canning is another way to stretch your food dollars and reduce waste.
- Cook, then freeze. Prepare and cook your fresh items before freezing, then thaw them as needed for quick meal prep throughout the month.
- Think serving-size. Cut up fruit and vegetables into individual portions to make them more convenient to eat and less likely to go to waste.
- Compost! You can compost everything from uncooked vegetable scraps to fruit peelings, teabags, coffee grounds, eggshells and even small amounts of paper and soft cardboard, and use it to feed your garden.
The Nashville Kroger division operates 92 stores and 94 pharmacies along with 83 fuel centers in Middle and East Tennessee, Southern Kentucky, and North Alabama. The company is dedicated to making a difference in the communities it serves by supporting hunger relief through its #ZeroHungerZeroWaste plan, women’s health, our troops and their families, and local schools and grassroots organization.
For more information, visit www.kroger.com