Kitchen Fighting Global PovertyIn 2015, the U.N. put out a list of Sustainable Developmental Goals (SDGs) to reach by 2030. The focus of these SDGs is to build a better, more sustainable world, inclusive of all countries. While the first SDG is specifically geared towards ending poverty as a whole, the rest of the goals have direct and indirect ways of addressing poverty as well. There are quite a few popular brands in the kitchen fighting global poverty and many are using the SDGs as a guideline for launching campaigns toward ending facets of poverty.

Brands in the Kitchen Fighting Global Poverty

1. Kellogg’s: In an effort toward achieving the second SDG, zero hunger, Kellogg’s launched its Kellogg’s® Better Days campaign. Since 2015, it has donated 2.4 billion servings of food to people around the world suffering from hunger. Among those receiving Kellogg’s food donations have been 3.2 million children. The goal is to feed 375 million people in need by the end of 2030. Kellogg’s also supports Breakfast Clubs in 21 different countries.

2. General Mills: Another cereal brand in the fight against poverty is General Mills. In 2008, CEO, Ken Powell, founded the nonprofit, Partners in Food Solutions. Various other companies have since joined the organization and work together to help African food processors succeed. The goal is to improve food security, nutrition and economic development in Africa. Over 100,000 volunteer hours have been put towards advising these food processors and planning technical or business projects in Africa. Additionally, volunteers from world-class corporations have developed 651 customized projects for their African clients.

3. Nestlé: The company Nestlé has identified a few of the SDGs to target in its sustainability strategy. The third SDG promotes good health and well-being. To support this SDG, Nestlé launched its global initiative, Nestlé for Healthier Kids, with which it hopes to help 50 million kids around the world live healthier lives through nutritional education by 2030. So far, the campaign has reached 27.2 million children. Nestlé also recognizes the need for addressing extreme poverty among workers around the world. As a stride towards SDG 8, decent work and economic growth, Nestlé launched the Nestlé Needs YOUth campaign. The initiative’s goal is to help 10 million young people access economic opportunities by providing them with skills, education and help in making agriculture a more thriving field. Yet another SDG Nestlé aims to help with is SDG 6, clean water and sanitation. Its global initiative, Caring for Water, involves “reducing withdrawals, reusing water and working with others to protect water at a catchment or community level.” Ultimately, the initiative seeks to increase access to safe water and sanitation around the world.

4. Kraft Heinz: With ending world hunger as a pillar of its foundation, Kraft Heinz is yet another brand in the kitchen fighting global poverty. In 2013, it partnered with the nonprofit Rise Against Hunger, which aids in global hunger relief. Kraft Heinz employees have since packaged 15.2 million meals in 30 to 40 countries. Furthermore, the company launched its Micronutrient Campaign in 2001. This campaign resulted in the creation of a micronutrient packet with essential vitamins and minerals, which promotes healthy growth and development in those suffering from hunger. On the 2019 World Food Day, Kraft Heinz employees from around the world included the micronutrient packet in over one million meal packages for families in need worldwide.

– Sage Ahrens-Nichols
Photo: Flickr

Partners in Food Solutions
One of the most common topics that arise when discussing world hunger and food insecurity is that there are actually more than enough resources to feed all of the people of the world.

The problem isn’t that there is not enough food for everyone, but rather that there is not an efficient way of distributing it. Or, oftentimes, on-location farms do not have the resources to grow enough food for the people in the area who need it.

Partners in Food Solutions (PFS) is a nonprofit organization that works to connect big food companies (such as General Mills, Cargill, Royal DSM and Bühler) with smaller food processors in the developing world to reduce food insecurity.

These large, experienced companies are able to provide small and growing businesses (SGBs) with information on how to increase productivity, improve quality and create all-around safer and more nutrient-rich food for surrounding populations.

In addition, PFS and its partners also help African food companies to develop business and finance skills and make areas such as distribution and packaging as efficient as possible. By supplying technological resources and training, there can be a consistent and reliable sharing of knowledge to help companies keep growing.

Jeff Dykstra, the CEO of PFS, says that “food insecurity in Africa has been often addressed in a reactionary way, and the opportunity that’s there now is to address it in a proactive way.”

At its heart, the organization just wants to create a more efficient and valuable food chain. One of its strengths is that it recognizes the importance of partnerships.

PFS is funded by corporations and private donors and also supported by a devoted base of volunteers. USAID TechnoServe is a PFS partner involved with implementing programs and strategies on the ground in Africa. So, while PFS manages volunteers and designs programs, Technoserve implements the relationships with SGBs.

By working with TechnoServe, PFS is able to evaluate which food companies are the most in need of help and look to be the most successful. The partnership has grown to assist over 700 SGBs in Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Tanzania and Zambia.

Almost 829,000 local farm holders were impacted through projects that are designed to bring expertise to small African food companies. Kykstra said that the money is generating a return into local economies at double the rate of taxpayer investment.

These partnerships are valuable and effective in the fight against global food insecurity. As President Obama himself said on a July 28 visit to the Faffa Food Share Company in Ethiopia, “Having strong corporate partners alongside local businesses can really make a big difference.”

Faffa Food Share is a client of PFS, and also the primary supplier of food for children over 6 months old in the country.

Although the chain of technologies, innovations and partnerships involved in the PFS organization is complicated, the core idea is simple.

The organization’s goal is to help small farms bring their crops to local marketplaces, making them sustainable contributors to their economies, cutting back on unnecessary food transportation expenses and helping entire countries to become self-sufficient when it comes to food.

All of this can be done by sharing knowledge and resources already available to the first world. Stephen Tanda, the managing board member of Royal DSM, calls PFS “the missing link in connecting the need to address malnutrition on the ground and working with companies in Africa to make these safe and high-quality nutritious foods that benefit the local population.”

Partners in Food Solutions is a great example of a lot of moving parts, of all different sizes and spheres of influence, working together to make a better world.

Emily Dieckman

Sources: General Mills, Partners in Food Solutions, YouTube 1, YouTube 2
Photo: Flickr