“It’s amazing how much our incredibly dedicated Kroger team has been able to accomplish in our first year of Zero Hunger | Zero Waste,” Jessica Adelman, Kroger’s group vice president of corporate affairs, said in a statement on Wednesday. “We’ve made great strides toward Kroger’s Zero Hunger | Zero Waste goal of ending hunger in our communities and eliminating waste across the company by 2025. Plus, we’ve spent much of our first year gathering insights, building awareness and, together with our partners, setting strategic priorities for achieving the moonshot by 2025.”
Zero Hunger | Zero Waste is designed to address a fundamental absurdity in the nation’s food system — 40% of the food produced in the United States is thrown away, yet one in eight Americans struggles with hunger.
Accomplishments in year one include:
- Fortune magazine slotted Zero Hunger | Zero Waste at No. 6 on its “Change the World 2018” list. The magazine’s editors recognized Kroger among large companies willing to commit resources to addressing society’s most complex issues.
- More than 325 million meals were provided to families in need in Kroger communities, and the company’s food-rescue program was enhanced to provide not only more meals but more balanced meals.
- About $181 million in charitable giving was directed toward ending hunger, in alliance with The Kroger Co. Foundation’s philanthropic giving. Additionally, the Zero Hunger | Zero Waste plan provided new avenues for Kroger shoppers to donate money in support of the social-impact plan.
- Kroger became the first major retailer to commit to phasing out single-use plastic grocery bags.
- A partnership was forged with Oprah Winfrey and her O, That’s Good! food brand to provide the nonprofit group Feeding America with 1 million meals to help feed needy families across the country.
- A strategic plan was launched for a $10 million Zero Hunger | Zero Waste Innovation Fund to finance scalable solutions to waste reduction.
- Transparency was increased around food waste, as Kroger worked with World Wildlife Fund to establish metrics and a baseline for food waste across its retail store operations using the WRI Food Loss & Waste Standard.
- Data-driven insights were developed to provide a better understanding of the complex issue of food insecurity in communities.
- Kroger’s analytics arm was enlisted to initiate a design project to bring a family-centered focus to Kroger’s search for solutions for ending hunger.
- Consumers were educated about ways to reduce food waste at home. Tips were shared for reducing household food waste through the Wilted to Wonderful blog series and other content.
“As year two of Zero Hunger | Zero Waste begins, Kroger will launch pilot projects with the potential to increase food security and reduce food waste in high-impact areas of our stores such as produce, seafood and deli,” Adelman said. “Key initiatives will include accelerating Kroger’s Zero Hunger | Zero Waste Food Rescue Program, expanding the number of retail stores participating in food recycling, partnering with growers and suppliers to address food waste in the supply chain, and launching the $10 million Zero Hunger | Zero Waste Innovation Fund.”