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04/21/2021

Kroger Achieves Milestones in Commitment to End Hunger, Waste

Retailer directed record 1-year total of 640M meals to fight food insecurity during pandemic
Marian Zboraj
Digital Editor
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Kroger Achieves Milestones in Commitment End Hunger, Waste
Kroger's Zero Hunger | Zero Waste program helps to build a more resilient and equitable food system and global supply chain.

The Kroger Co. achieved major milestones last year in its Zero Hunger | Zero Waste program during a time when the economic impacts of COVID-19 reflected the importance of the initiative. Zero Hunger | Zero Waste is the company's plan to help create communities free of hunger and waste by 2025.

"This past year has been a challenge for so many — especially those who are trying to provide for their families amid hardship," said Rodney McMullen, Kroger's chairman and CEO. "In 2020, we continued to deliver on the principles of our Zero Hunger | Zero Waste commitment, focusing on ways to support food-insecure individuals and families and reduce waste across our entire organization. We have made considerable progress, and the momentum we've achieved shows that the Kroger Family of Companies is always striving for a better tomorrow."

Notable milestones in the area of Zero Hunger in 2020 include the following:

  • Kroger directed $213 million in charitable giving to help end hunger in its communities, with the organization's total charitable giving reaching $301 million.
     
  • Kroger associates rescued 90 million pounds of wholesome food from stores, food processing plants and distribution centers through the Zero Hunger | Zero Waste Food Rescue program. While total surplus food donations declined 10% as more customers were stocking up and preparing meals at home, increased charitable donations enabled critical feeding programs in its communities.
     
  • In food and funds combined, Kroger directed a record one-year total of 640 million meals to individuals and families struggling with hunger across the country, an increase from 493 million meals in 2019. 

Key milestones last year in the area of Zero Waste include the following:

  • Kroger achieved 81% waste diversion from landfills company-wide, up 1% from the prior year. The retailer also reduced total trash sent to landfills by 4% versus the prior year.
     
  • Kroger expanded its food waste recycling programs to 2,285 stores, up from 2,120 stores in 2019, reflecting the launch of new programs in the retailer's Central (Illinois and Indiana), Dallas and Houston supermarket divisions.
     
  • 31 of 34 Kroger-operated manufacturing plants are Zero Waste facilities, an important milestone in the company's Zero Waste goals.

"Freeing our communities of hunger and waste requires leadership and commitment from our Kroger Family of Companies and beyond. We want to recognize and thank our Zero Heroes, associates, customers and students around the country who have dedicated time and energy to achieving our ambitious goals," said McMullen. "We owe a debt of gratitude to these Zero Heroes every day as we create a brighter future for people and our planet."

For each store team and individual associate Zero Hero, Kroger will direct a $2,000 grant on their behalf to a local nonprofit organization of their choice that helps advance the collective mission.  

The 2020 Food Donation Heroes are defined as the leading teams across the country that have implemented Kroger's Zero Hunger | Zero Waste Food Rescue program exceptionally well and redirected thousands of pounds of surplus food to their communities. These heroes are:

Store 224

Alaska 

Store 673

Arizona 

Store 359

California 

Store 755

California 

Store 059

Colorado 

Store 263

Indiana 

Store 970

Indiana  

Store 537

Illinois

Store 015

Kansas 

Store 392

Kentucky 

Store 407

Kentucky 

Store 737

Michigan 

Store 492
Mississippi 

Store 341

Nevada 

Store 891

Ohio 

Store 671

South Carolina 

Store 686

Tennessee 

Store 014

Texas 

Store 594

Texas 

Store 501

Virginia

Store 857

Washington 

Mid-South D.C.

Supply Chain

Winchester Dairy

Manufacturing

 

The Associate Fundraising Heroes are cashiers across the Kroger's retail footprint who led the way in activating donations by asking customers to help end hunger by rounding up their order at checkout to benefit The Kroger Co. Zero Hunger | Zero Waste Foundation. These are:

Jen Tudor

Cincinnati-Dayton Division

Colleen Burrows

Columbus Division

Nick Damico

Columbus Division

Beth Tipton

Columbus Division

Candice Peterson

Dallas Division

Steve Pounds

Dallas Division

Julie Wolff

Dallas Division

Rockie Ubleman

Dallas Division

Mahin Boca

Dallas Division

Anatoli Bondarchuk

Fred Meyer Division

Sonja Smith

Fred Meyer Division

Sandy Carmichael

Fred Meyer Division

Kelly Standley

Fred Meyer Division

Michelle Rankin

Fred Meyer Division

Kim Tucker

Fred Meyer Division

Patty Kuzma

Fred Meyer Division

Anton Nordberg

Fred Meyer Division

Debra Bilyeu

Fred Meyer Division

Judith Lesliepatton

Fred Meyer Division

Robin Morris

Fred Meyer Division

Debra Van Matre

Houston Division

Dee Dee Hamby

Mid-Atlantic Division

Kathy Lange

QFC Division

Kurt Mincin

QFC Division

Kroger is also recognizing nearly 2,000 dedicated students across 42 states as Zero Heroes for taking action during the 2020-21 school year to advance United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 2: Zero Hunger and Goal 12: Responsible Consumption and Production. In partnership with Cincinnati-based InnerView Technologies, students from more than 340 schools invested nearly 60,000 hours of service despite more virtual learning and fewer volunteer events to support Kroger's Zero Hunger | Zero Waste mission by learning about global social and environmental issues and taking action locally.

"We are grateful for the effort of every Zero Hero and our entire community to lift up Kroger's Zero Hunger | Zero Waste commitment, which continues to drive meaningful outcomes," said Keith Dailey, Kroger's group VP of corporate affairs and chief sustainability officer. "There are still many families and communities experiencing the impacts of hunger and waste in our country. We are committed to doing even more to meet our goals and create a future with zero hunger and zero waste and we encourage other organizations to join our moonshot mission."   

More recently, Kroger held an open call for its second innovation fund. Eligible innovators with ideas and solutions to prevent food waste were instructed to submit an application by April 1 for business support and funding totaling $2.5 million in collective grants. Kroger — in collaboration with Washington, D.C.-based Village Capital, which helps entrepreneurs bring big ideas from vision to scale, and the fund's advisory committee — is currently reviewing the applications and will select 10 startups to work with and help achieve funding.

Cincinnati-based Kroger employs nearly half a million associates who serve 9 million-plus customers daily through a seamless digital shopping experience and 2,800 retail food stores under a variety of banner names. The company is No. 3 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2020 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America.

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