Kroger announced a new, national effort aimed at ending hunger in the communities Kroger calls home and eliminating waste across the company by 2025. Although the announcement does not specifically mention private brand, the far-reaching plan will certainly impact the portfolio fo private brands.

“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, Kroger’s chairman and CEO.

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.

“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,” Mr. McMullen said. “As America’s grocer and one of the largest retailers in the world, we are committing to doing something about it.”

Kroger’s Zero Hunger | Zero Waste plan includes the bold commitments outlined below, in keeping with the company’s Purpose to Feed the Human Spirit.

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, Kroger is working closely with both Feeding America and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), our longstanding partners, to develop transparent metrics to track our 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 Food 4 Less.

“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,” added Mr. Kaltenbach.

“Hunger exists in every county and affects every demographic group in this country,” said Diana Aviv, CEO of Feeding America®. “If we are to succeed in creating a hunger-free America, it will take the combined efforts of a variety of groups – policymakers, 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.”

“The production and consumption of food has the largest environmental footprint of any human activity. By wasting less food, we can reduce the environmental impact of food production while also conserving biodiversity and wildlife habitat,” said Sheila Bonini, senior vice president, Private Sector Engagement, WWF. “Kroger’s zero waste commitment sets a new standard for food waste reduction goals and will have a ripple effect across their supply chain and industry.”

Zero Hunger | Zero Waste: A Plan to End Hunger In Kroger Communities
and Eliminate Waste In The Kroger Co.

  • 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, including the communities served by Food 4 Less stores in the greater Chicago area. 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. Kroger has been feeding people facing hunger since the company’s inception in 1883, and as a founding partner of Feeding America, the nation’s largest hunger relief organization, Kroger has longstanding partners with food banks across the country. Today, Kroger and Food 4 Less store associates are empowered to identify meat, produce, dairy and bakery items for donation that remain safe, fresh and nutritious. Last year, Kroger donated the equivalent of 46 million fresh meals to local food banks in addition to dry goods and shelf-stable groceries. Through the first half of this year, Food 4 Less stores in the Chicago area have donated more than 300,000 pounds of fresh product to area food banks.
  • 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 that can be scaled for maximum impact.
  • 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,” Mr. McMullen said. “This is our moonshot.'”



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Christopher Durham

Christopher Durham is the president of My Private Brand and the co-founder of The Vertex Awards. He is a strategist, author, consultant and retailer who built brands at Delhaize-owned Food Lion, and lead strategy and brand development for Lowe’s Home Improvement. He has consulted with retailers around the world on their private brand portfolios including: Family Dollar, Petco, Staples, Office Depot, Best Buy, Metro (Canada), TLW (Taiwan) and Hola (Taiwan).

Durham has published five definitive books on private brands, including his first book, Fifty2: The My Private Brand Project. In 2017, he will debut his newest book, Vanguard: Vintage Originals, a visual tour of innovation and disruption in private brand going back to the mid-1800’s.
Dynamic in his presentation while down to earth and frank in his opinions, he has presented at numerous conferences, including FUSE, The Dieline Conference, Packaging that Sells, Omnishopper and PLMA’a annual trade show in Chicago.

Durham lives in Charlotte, NC with his wife, Laraine, and two daughters, Olivia and Sarah.