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Kroger marks progress on Zero Hunger Zero Waste

Zero Hunger Zero Waste

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CINCINNATI — Kroger Co. made progress on its Zero Hunger Zero Waste initiative in 2020, a difficult year that underscored the relevance of the effort to help create communities free of hunger and waste by 2025.

Zero Hunger Zero Waste“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.”

Kroger’s ongoing commitment to a future without hunger and waste achieved the following notable milestones in 2020, the company said. They include:

Zero Hunger

  • 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 its stores, food processing plants and distribution centers through its 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 our 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.

Zero Waste

  • Kroger achieved 81% waste diversion from landfills company-wide, up 1% from the prior year. The company 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 against the company’s Zero Waste goals.

Zero Hunger Zero WasteKroger said it also wanted to recognize the employees and others that have helped it achieve those milestones.

“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 said it will direct a $2,000 grant on their behalf to a local nonprofit organization of their choice that helps advance the collective mission.

Kroger said its 2020 Zero Heroes include the teams at 21 stores, a distribution center and a dairy plant, and 24 “associate fundraising heroes — cashiers 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.

Kroger is also recognizing nearly 2,000 dedicated students across 42 states as Zero Heroes for taking action during the 2020-2021 school year to advance United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 2: Zero Hunger and Goal 12: Responsible Consumption and Production. In partnership with InnerView Technologies, students from over 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 vice president 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.”