Bringing an End to Food Waste

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General Mills, best known for its leadership in yogurt, cereal, snack bars and baked goods, is on a mission to catalyze a new era of food waste reduction. The reasons the company cites go well beyond ensuring its own prosperity; noting this is an issue that impacts all of us.

“Whether you look at the economics of food waste as an operator, or whether you look at the issue from an environmental or humanitarian perspective, it makes no sense for America to be throwing away $218 billion worth of food each year,” said Nicola Dixon, executive director of General Mills Foundation.

Indeed, food waste today occurs at a staggering scale. According to the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) of the U.N., one third of all food produced never gets eaten, with a large portion ending up in landfills where it emits potent greenhouse gases. 

While it’s a problem that occurs throughout the supply chain, it’s estimated that more than 40 percent of food waste comes from consumer-facing businesses—grocery stores, restaurants and institutional foodservice industry.¹

The good news is that there are a host of new innovations and efforts underway that can help us all use food more wisely. 

Through its foundation, General Mills recently made a $1 million philanthropic investment in a technology solution called MealConnect™, which redirects excess food from manufacturers and foodservice organizations to help feed people facing hunger in their own communities. The mobile-friendly platform was created by Feeding America®, the nation’s leading hunger-relief organization, and is free for both operators and non-profits.

How MealConnect Works:

  • MealConnect is available to donors from any smartphone, tablet or computer.
  • The platform helps donors list food that may otherwise go to waste and directs the rescued food to a Feeding America member food bank or food pantry to help people in need.
  • An algorithm determines the best-suited local pantry or food program to quickly pick up and distribute the donation.

In addition to food recovery efforts with Feeding America, General Mills is also lead supporter of ReFED, a national nonprofit focused on working across sectors to cut America’s food waste levels in half by 2030.

“We know that food waste is a major challenge; however, it also presents an opportunity for the foodservice industry to step up and be part of the solution,” said Alyca Judge, of General Mills Foodservice. “It’s critical that scalable solutions like MealConnect are available so operators can easily donate their surplus to charities feeding hungry people, rather than having food end up in landfills.”

Visit the MealConnect website to learn more.

If your operation is already working with MealConnect to fight food waste, promote it at your operation or on social media with these editable downloads.

¹ ReFED: A Roadmap to Reduce Food Waste by 20 Percent (2016)