Dow, Unilever, and other food-focused companies are pitching in to fight hunger and improve access to healthful, sustainable food.
Sponsored by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), World Food Day (landing this year on Wednesday, October 16) is a global campaign designed to close the gap between food availability and need.
With the world’s population expected to hit 9bn ahead of 2050, food and beverage firms and their packaging partners are promoting ways to help avoid a world hunger crisis. Here are ways that companies are lending a hand to the World Food Day effort.
Dow spreads the gospel of effective food packaging
Dow Chemical Co.’s Performance Packaging is promoting packaging practices and technology to improve food’s ability to endure the long journey from farm to table. According to Diego Donoso, business president of Dow Packaging and Specialty Plastics, a key piece of the world hunger puzzle is extending food’s shelf life.
“We recognize that maintaining sustainable food systems is a complex process,” said Diego Donoso, business president, Dow Packaging and Specialty Plastics. “We are committed to creating innovative technologies in packaging and collaborating with industry partners to minimize food waste and ensure that more food reaches more kitchen tables around the globe.”
The company’s efforts in support of World Food Day include producing educational content on its website and social media channels, and spreading the word on creating sustainable food systems.
Unilever backs food awareness at all levels
Unilever, owner of Ben & Jerry's ice cream, Hellman's mayonnaise and Lipton tea, backs a number of initiatives on the corporate-leadership level. CEO Paul Polman has in the past teamed up with other high-profile leaders to build awareness of sustainable food supply concerns among top-level executives involved in food manufacturing and distribution.
According to Polman, corporate leaders have an important role in fighting world hunger.
“Due to the global economic crisis, the number of people failing to get access to food is increasing,” he said.
In addition, Unilever encourages employees worldwide to get involved in a number of ways. In the company’s “meal for a meal” program, for every employee buying a lunch that day, Unilever donates the cost of a meal to the UN’s World Food Programme.
Employees also are encouraged to take a hands-on approach. Personnel in Kenya have served needy schoolchildren lunch in Nairobi; in Trinidad, employees of Unilever’s Blue Band margarine brand donate meals to orphanages.
Beaulieu Vineyard wines and dines for hunger
Napa Valley wine producer Beaulieu Vineyard is turning to actor Chris Noth, known for starring roles in TV series Sex and the City and Law & Order, to help combat hunger.
At the Give & Give Back Chef Challenge, culinary bigwigs will convene to create nutritious, affordable meals using only ingredients typically found in food pantries that serve the poor. The goal is to raise awareness of world hunger, and to help needy families make the best use of their food resources.
The vineyard is partnering with food donation organizations Ample Harvest and City Harvest. The organizations endeavor to help hungry families improve access to healthful, sustainable food.
Energy bar nourishes needy children
Nouri is a line of energy bars created to help combat hunger while feeding hungry consumers. For each organic, vegan bar sold, the company donates a meal to a youngster in a developing country.
The company’s mission is to feed children in school. The idea is to help children better focus on learning; additionally, if schools provide access to nourishing meals, parents have a stronger incentive to ensure their children attend school regularly.