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Kroger takes aim at hunger

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CINCINNATI — Kroger Co. has announced an effort to end hunger in the chain’s markets and eliminate waste across the company by 2025.

Some 42 million Americans struggle with hunger. At the same time, an estimated 72 billion pounds of food ends up in a landfill every year.

“More than 40% 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,” said Kroger chairman and chief executive officer Rodney McMullen. “As America’s grocer and one of the largest retailers in the world, we are committing to doing something about it.”

The company’s Zero Hunger | Zero Waste plan includes a commitment to establish a $10 million innovation fund within the Kroger Co. Foundation to address hunger, food waste and the paradoxical relationship between the two. The plan also steps up donations to provide 3 billion meals by 2025 to feed people facing hunger. In collaboration with its customers, associates and other partners, Kroger has donated 1 billion meals via combined food and funds donations since 2013. And the plan calls for contributing not just food, but more balanced meals.

Kroger is also crowdsourcing for solutions, asking communities, partners and other stakeholders to help provide ideas, feedback and best practices as the effort evolves. In addition, the supermarketer is working closely with Feeding America and the World Wildlife Fund to develop transparent metrics to track its progress.

“We know that meals matter — families that share meals together have children who do better in every aspect of their lives. That’s why we imagine a world without hunger and food waste,” said Bryan Kaltenbach, president of Kroger’s Food 4 Less chain. “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.”

“Hunger exists in every county and affects every demographic group in this country,” said Feeding America CEO Diana Aviv. “If we are to succeed in creating a hunger-free America, it will take the combined efforts of a variety of groups — policy makers, nonprofits, individuals and corporations — working together with the 200 network member food banks. Kroger is stepping up to the challenge, and we look forward to working with them on their Zero Hunger | Zero Waste plan.”

“Zero Hunger | Zero Waste is a vision for the America we want to help create with our associates, customers and stakeholders,” remarked McMullen. “This is our moonshot.’”


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