Feeding America Partners With USDA, EPA To Help Reduce Food Waste
Feeding America has joined forces with the USDA and EPA to help reduce food waste and provide more food to Americans in need. The effort has been named “U.S. Food Waste Challenge.” It was launched Tuesday.
“Feeding America is honored to be a founding partner, along with numerous food industry members, in the launch of the U.S. Food Waste Challenge with the United States Department of Agriculture and the Environmental Protection Agency,” said Bob Aiken, president and CEO of Feeding America. “The importance of reducing food waste by capturing excess food and providing it to people in need is not a new concept for Feeding America and our food donation partners. Last year, the Feeding America nationwide network of food banks and our partners diverted over two billion pounds of food to feed Americans facing hunger.
“However, we know we can and should do more. With an estimated 70 billion pounds of nutritious food going to waste each year, we must work together to capture this valuable resource for hungry Americans.
“Feeding America looks forward to working with USDA, EPA, and our food industry partners to further reduce food waste and feed our struggling neighbors in communities across America.”
In the featured photo at top: Feeding America’s Bob Aiken helps launch the U.S. Food Waste Challenge.
Whole Foods, Safeway Top Newest Seafood Sustainability Scorecard
Greenpeace’s CATO report has evaluated supermarket sustainability since 2008 and, up until this year, only Safeway and Whole Foods have earned the “green rating,” but this year the CATO report features three green-rated retailers—Safeway, Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s. In addition, retail giant Walmart has introduced both fish aggregating device (FAD)-free skipjack and pole-and-line albacore in more than 3,000 stores across the country, making affordable and responsibly-caught canned tuna available to the majority of the population of the U.S. for the first time, Greenpeace says.
The CATO ratings evaluate retailers using a variety of factors—including the sale of “red list” seafood, engagement with conservation initiatives, transparency of supply and the establishment of cohesive internal policies—to score each retailer on a scale of 0-10.
“It’s great news that Walmart, Safeway and Trader Joe’s are all introducing responsibly-caught canned tuna options, at a similar price to the environmentally devastating tuna available from Chicken of the Sea, Starkist and Bumble Bee,” says Casson Trenor, Greenpeace senior markets campaigner. “This means there’s now a more sustainable seafood option available to almost every consumer in the country, so people don’t have to choose between their bank account and the planet.”
Additionally, Greenpeace says Wegmans, Supervalu and Trader Joe’s have taken strong stands to protect the Zhemchug and Pribilof Canyons of the Bering Sea, home to the billion-dollar pollock industry. These commitments, according to Greenpeace, show significant movement across retailers toward sustainability.
The report also showcases other key issues facing the seafood industry, such as a need for more transparency at point of sale and a growing groundswell of opposition to genetically modified salmon, a product that numerous major retailers have already pledged not to sell, according to Greenpeace.
“It’s hard to believe that brands like Kroger, Publix and BI-LO are continuing to sell tuna that’s sourced using destructive fishing methods, and sell red list species that are struggling for survival,” says Trenor. “This seems so far out of step with consumer preferences, which have encouraged most grocery retailers to offer more sustainable seafood options.”
The CATO report, according to Greenpeace, is the product of heightened consumer awareness of the destruction caused by certain seafood items, as well as sustained advocacy by environmental groups.
Kroger Unveils Clean Energy Production System Powered By Food Waste
The Kroger Co. on Wednesday unveiled a clean energy production system that will convert food that cannot be sold or donated into clean energy to help power its Ralphs/Food 4 Less Compton distribution center.
The anaerobic conversion system will process more than 55,000 tons of organic food waste into renewable energy annually and provide power for the more than 650,000-s.f. distribution center. By diverting that food waste—the equivalent of 150 tons per day—the system also will reduce area truck trips by more than 500,000 miles each year. The Kroger Recovery System uses a sophisticated process to convert the carbon in organic material into a renewable source of methane.
“We are committed to finding solutions for food waste and clean energy, and we believe this is a meaningful step forward,” said Rodney McMullen, president and COO of The Kroger Co. “Investing in this project is a good business decision for Kroger and, most importantly, an extraordinary opportunity to benefit the environment. We want to thank Gov. (Jerry) Brown and his team at CalRecycle and CalEPA, the city of Compton, the SCAQMD and, most importantly, the team at FEED for making this renewable energy project a reality.”
How it works
The Kroger Recovery System utilizes anaerobic digestion, a naturally occurring process, to transform unsold organics and onsite food-processing effluent into renewable biogas. This biogas is then turned into power for onsite operations. The process is carried out in an enclosed, oxygen-free environment, which means the process takes up less space and generates no odors. The system will provide enough renewable biogas to offset more than 20 percent of the energy demand of the Ralphs/Food 4 Less distribution center. Combining the use of renewable energy power with more than 150 zero emission fuel cell forklifts, the Ralphs/Food 4 Less distribution center is now one of the greenest and most efficient, advancing the city of Compton as a leading sustainable community.
Kroger, Banners Opening Clean Energy Production Facility In Compton
The Kroger Co., along with its Ralphs and Food 4 Less banners, will celebrate on Wednesday the opening of its clean energy production facility that will convert food that cannot be sold or donated into clean energy to help power its Compton, Calif., distribution center while reducing waste. A ceremony to mark the event will begin at 10 a.m. (PT) at the distribution center located at 1100 W. Artesia Blvd.
The ceremony will include a visual tour of the multi-stage energy recovery system and remarks from Los Angeles Business Council President Mary Leslie and local elected officials.
The Kroger Recovery System uses anaerobic digestion, a naturally occurring process, to transform unsold organics and onsite food-processing effluent into renewable biogas. This biogas is then turned into power for onsite operations. The process is carried out in an enclosed, oxygen-free environment—meaning the process takes up less space and generates no odors. The system will provide enough renewable biogas to offset more than 20 percent of the energy demand of the Ralphs/Food 4 Less distribution center. Other environmental benefits include reduced diesel truck trips by 500,000 miles per year; recycling of seven million pounds of cardboard, plastic and metal; reduction of 134 tons of waste per day; and generating enough renewable energy to power more than 8,000 homes per year.
Pepperidge Farm Employees Get Norwalk Beaches Ready For Season
Pepperidge Farm Inc. recently held its seventh all-employee service day for headquarter employees in Norwalk, Conn. More than 200 employees donated their time by gardening, painting and picking up litter in time for Memorial Day weekend later this month.
“As with many beaches along the shores of Connecticut, Calf Pasture Beach was severely damaged by Hurricane Sandy last fall and getting the resources to fix it in time for the summer season was challenging,” said Norwalk Mayor Richard Moccia. “And then our community partner, Pepperidge Farm, stepped up to help as they always do. We can always rely on them to assist the city of Norwalk whenever it needs it the most.”
“A healthy community requires a good working relationship and collaboration from all parties including the business sector, city hall, nonprofits and the community. Pepperidge Farm is committed to doing its part to strengthen and improve Norwalk,” said Ruthann Walsh, Pepperidge Farm’s director of corporate citizenship. “In this particular case, we came out today with two goals in mind: to beautify the beach for Norwalk residents and to be sure the beach was cleaned up and safe for the hundreds of children who will enjoy it over the summer months. With the national obesity rates at epidemic proportions, it is critical that today’s children get plenty of exercise and there is no better place to get that than at the beach.”
Some of the supplies used in the cleanup were donated by The Home Depot of Norwalk.
Past Pepperidge Farm all-employee service days have included painting, refinishing furniture and re-stocking pantry shelves at Norwalk’s food pantry, renovating the camp at the Carver Foundation of Norwalk and building edible gardens at Norwalk’s public schools. In addition, Pepperidge Farm has donated time and money to the community of Norwalk through various programs such as the Kids Back Pack program, participating in building a new playground in South Norwalk and supporting Project LEAN, in its third year at Jefferson Science Magnet School. This pilot program is an initiative Pepperidge Farm is co-leading with the Norwalk Health Department, the Norwalk Hospital and Jefferson School to reduce the rate of childhood obesity.
Pepperidge Farm’s contribution to the Norwalk Community has been recognized by awards from the Human Services Council, the Connecticut Food Bank, The Carver Foundation of Norwalk and induction into the Chairman’s Circle of the United Way of Coastal Fairfield County.
Whole Foods Reveals Winners Of Its 2013 Non-Perishable Supplier Awards
Whole Foods Market has recognized the winners of its 2013 Supplier Awards, spotlighting natural and organic non-perishable suppliers who best exemplify the grocer’s mission and core values.
Frontier Natural Products Co-op, a top supplier of organic herbs and spices, earned the Austin, Texas-based grocer’s highest honor of Supplier of the Year for outstanding overall product performance, exceptional quality, commitment to transparency and strong contribution to Whole Planet Foundation, a nonprofit that funds poverty alleviation in communities where Whole Foods Market sources products.
Whole Foods Market global buyers and experts selected this year’s recipients out of the thousands of suppliers they work beside every day to bring products to market. In addition to the Top Supplier of the Year award, the company recognized the cream-of-the-crop supplier partners in nine other categories: Best New Product, Excellence in Cheese, Environmental Stewardship, Outstanding Innovation, Excellence in Product Quality, Non-GMO Commitment, Partnership, Commodity Ingredients, Outstanding Wine and Beer and the company’s ethical sourcing program, Whole Trade Guarantee.
“At Whole Foods Market, we seek out suppliers who share our core values—our commitment to quality, ethical sourcing, environmental stewardship—as well as our desire to innovate and provide the best quality and value for our shoppers,” said Jim Speirs, global VP of procurement for non-perishables. “The suppliers we’re honoring…represent the very best in our industry. We’re proud to recognize the passion, hard work and true partnership they deliver every day to support our business.”
All Supplier Award winners were announced earlier this week during an awards dinner in Austin at the Stephen F. Austin Hotel.
Best New Product
Tom’s of Maine—for its Grab and Go Toothpaste in Fresh Mint (Fluoride and Fluoride Free); a product launched exclusively for Whole Foods Market shoppers that has delivered unmatched value and quality in the category, while using packaging that lowers waste without raising costs.
Excellence in Cheese
FoodMatch Inc.—for honoring traditional methods of olive and antipasti production, for forming direct alliances with farmers in the Mediterranean and in the U.S., and for delivering premium quality products with a commitment to recycling and waste management.
Nature’s Path Foods—for the company’s commitment to non-GMO agriculture and pioneering role in environmental sustainability and organic food production in the competitive cereal category; and for the company’s deep commitment to fair trade sourcing, exclusivity and product innovation with Whole Foods Market.
AgStrong—for its instrumental role in bringing Non-GMO Winter Canola to the Southeast as a new high-value crop; and for working to reduce the risk and costs associated with non-GMO cultivation to help farmers bring more profitable crops to market.
Excellence in Product Quality
Frontier Natural Products Co-op—for consistently delivering premium quality products that not only meet but exceed Whole Foods Market shoppers’ high expectations in a competitive category.
Hidden Villa—(and its exclusive Nature’s Fed brand) for its groundbreaking commitment to non-GMO verification and supply chain development through the launch of the industry’s first non-GMO fed eggs—eggs laid by chickens that are fed only non-GMO Project Verified feed.
Green Seal—for the organization’s integral involvement in the development, launch and execution of Whole Foods Market’s Eco-Scale Rating System for household cleaners; for creating win-win solutions for suppliers during the auditing and rating process; and for consistent, exemplary customer service.
Bay State Milling—for embracing the challenge to customize flour blends and grades that achieve cost and performance goals that meet Whole Foods Market’s growing needs; and for superior customer service to the company’s regional bakehouses and distribution centers.
Outstanding Wine or Beer Supplier
The Winery Exchange—for delivering diverse, complex and high quality varietal wines at great value prices that satisfy and delight shoppers time and time again.
Whole Trade Guarantee Ethical Sourcing
Divine Chocolate USA—for its leadership in ethical sourcing and use of fair trade ingredients; and for the company’s support of the Kuapa KoKoo cocoa co-op, which is empowering impoverished women in Ghana with an opportunity to improve their own lives while helping to make delicious, high quality products.
Jim Bail, director of consulting and technical services at NSF International—for his integrity, innovation, flexibility, problem solving expertise and overall incredible support for the food safety and quality assurance programs at Whole Foods over the years; and for his work helping thousands of companies improve their food safety and quality assurance programs.
In the featured photo at top: Frontier Natural Products Co-op is Whole Foods Market 2013 Supplier of the Year.
Nestle Purina’s Atlanta Facility Unveils Company’s Largest Solar Array
Nestle Purina PetCare on Wednesday unveiled the company’s largest solar array at its Atlanta pet food manufacturing facility. The solar array, designed and installed by United Renewable Energy (URE), represents the latest step in Nestle Purina’s commitment to environmental sustainability, according to a news release.
Fairburn Mayor Mario Avery joined a Nestle Purina delegation, as well as representatives from the offices of U.S. Sens. Saxby Chambliss and Johnny Isakson and URE, on the factory’s rooftop during a dedication ceremony for the nearly 1,900 solar panels. “Congratulations to Nestle Purina on this tremendous achievement,” Avery said. “I’m excited to be here on behalf of the people of Fairburn to mark another major milestone for this great company. Nestle Purina represents what we’re trying to promote in this community, and we’re glad you’re here.”
Nestle Purina Atlanta’s solar array will produce more than 585,000 kilowatt hours of clean sustainable energy each year, with this energy used to power equipment in various areas of the plant, including processing, packaging and the warehouse. The amount of electricity produced annually by the solar array could power nearly 52 average-sized homes—or approximately 5,000 light bulbs—for one year. The carbon offset for a system this size equates to a C02-emissions reduction of approximately 16 million pounds.
Nestle Purina Atlanta, which celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2012, produces pet food brands like Alpo, Purina Cat Chow, Purina Dog Chow, Friskies, Purina Pro Plan and Purina Beneful.
“We at Nestle Purina are passionately committed to creating a better world for pets and their owners, today and in the future,” said Mark Burns, VP and director of manufacturing for Nestle Purina PetCare. “Employing renewable energy at our manufacturing facilities is just one aspect of our overall company plan to create shared value for society, which means going the extra mile to make a difference for generations to come.”
Scott Sethman, Nestle Purina Atlanta plant manager, added, “We are committed to the continuous journey of doing the right thing for the environment, while looking for ways to remain competitive, not just here in Atlanta, but everywhere we conduct business.”
Nestle Purina purchases its electricity from Georgia Power Co., which derives 7 percent of its total electric energy from renewable sources, including solar, wind and biomass.
All of Nestle Purina North America’s manufacturing locations have now implemented and maintain comprehensive environmental management systems, which have been certified by independent auditors to meet the internationally recognized ISO 14001 standard, the news release says. Each Nestle Purina plant in the U.S. employs a person who is responsible for environmental and energy issues.
To help celebrate the launch of the new solar array, Nestle Purina made a donation of $5,000 to the Douglas County, Ga., K9 Unit.
After Avery and Nestle Purina representatives spoke at Wednesday’s event, they participated in a “Purina-style” ribbon-cutting ceremony, conducted with the help of a Border Collie named Dealer. The three-time American Kennel Club Master Agility Champion traveled from Miami with his owner, Annette Alfonso, to take part in the celebration.
In the featured photo at top: Fairburn Mayor Mario Avery; Mark Burns, VP and director of manufacturing at Nestle Purina; Scott Sethman, plant manager, Fairburn; William Silva, president of URE; and award-winning Border Collie, Dealer.
Coral Springs, Fla., Boy Designs Tote Bags For Whole Foods
Art is a unique expression, and one that 12-year-old Jordan Hessler takes seriously, especially now that his creative work is gracing the front of tote bags being sold at Whole Foods Market.
The Coral Springs, Fla., resident’s recent drawing of his idea of South Florida “nature” was chosen as the winning design out of several submitted by local children. More than 100 Whole Foods Market customers voted for their favorite design via ballots, and Hessler’s is now featured on limited edition canvas tote bags, available exclusively at Whole Foods Market in Coral Springs. The tote bags went on sale April 22 (Earth Day) and are available while supplies last.
The bags are $7.99 each and $2 from each bag benefits Whole Kids Foundation, which supports schools and inspires families to improve children’s nutrition and wellness. The primary goal of the foundation is to end childhood obesity. The Coral Springs store launched the tote bag design contest to encourage local children to express their views of South Florida nature through art.
Whole Foods Market Coral Springs is located at 810 University Dr.