Coronavirus: Bakery and snack producers up the ante to help those in need

By Gill Hyslop contact

- Last updated on GMT

Pic: GettyImages/Liubov Trapeznykova
Pic: GettyImages/Liubov Trapeznykova

Related tags: Mondelez International, PepsiCo India, Kellogg's, Original Biscuit Bakers, General mills, Fairfield Farm Crisps

Mondelēz, PepsiCo, Kellogg’s, Original Biscuit Bakers, Fairfield Farm and General Mills have stepped up efforts, as the world faces a mounting food insecurity crisis amid the spread of novel coronavirus.

India

Mondelēz India is donating 71 tonnes of sweet treats to brighten up the day of people in need throughout the country.

The Oreo maker is contributing 360,000 units of biscuits and 2.3 million units of chocolate to India FoodBanking Network – part of the Food Security Foundation India – which will be distributed to 12 of India’s major cities.

It has also donated relief kits to support frontline members like hospital staff and the police in Mumbai, including one million masks and 225 litres of sanitisers.

Mondelēz India said its employees have also joined the relief work, providing around one million meals through the company’s partnership with Akshaya Patra Foundation, and will continue to do so throughout the month of April.

Meanwhile, food and beverage major PepsiCo India has joined hands with industry body CII to provide two million meals to be distributed among families of farmers, self-help groups and migrant workers in Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan.

Earlier this month, the company’s philanthropic arm committed to provide over five million meals to families impacted by the outbreak, in partnership with Akshaya Patra Foundation.

“With this latest partnership, PepsiCo India has upped its commitment to provide over seven million meals to the underprivileged and marginalised families impacted by the Covid-19 outbreak across India,”​ the company said in a statement.

PepsiCo India president Ahmed El Sheikh said: “We are partnering CII Foundation to reach out to these communities and offer assistance in expediting the relief measures”.

Australia and New Zealand

Kellogg’s Australia and New Zealand are increasing their food donations by one tonne each month for the next six months, equating to roughly 150,000 bowls of cereal.

They have also made a one-off immediate donation of 215,000 servings of cereal and snacks to be distributed to vulnerable communities via the Food Bank and OzHarvest in Australia and City Missions in New Zealand.

“It’s with these families and communities in mind that we’re strengthening our ongoing support for those who need help during this difficult time,”​ said Esme Borgelt, MD, Kellogg’s Australia.

“We know that the ongoing impacts of COVID-19 will be long lasting, and we’re continuing to look for new and creative ways to increase the amount of food that we’re able to donate and to make sure we are getting it to those who need it most.

“As a food company, we have a critical role to play in helping combat food insecurity and feed those in need. Now more than ever, we’re doing whatever we can to make sure our food is continuing to reach vulnerable children and families.”

To date, Kellogg’s had donated more than AU$7.5m in food relief through its Kellogg’s Better Days platform.

UK

Shropshire-based Original Biscuit Bakers donated thousands of hand decorated gingerbread biscuits to bring a little light to Easter to NHS workers and those struggling with food poverty.

“Due to the current health crisis, our stock levels were high and we could see an opportunity to donate to worthy causes both locally and further afield,”​ said Sarah Hopcroft, sales and marketing director of Original Biscuit Bakers.

“We really hope our delightful and lovingly produced Easter gingerbread biscuits brought cheer and joy to those on the front line, those struggling with homelessness and also food poverty in such turbulent and difficult times.

“I am extremely grateful to the amazing City Harvest London, Market Drayton Foodbank and University Hospital of North Midlands Charity for organising the re-distribution of what would otherwise be surplus goods.”

Laura Winningham, CEO of City Harvest, said, “Covid-19 means, now more than ever, that our vans are needed on the roads delivering food to charities across London who are preparing food parcels for vulnerable groups, including NHS workers on the front line. We were delighted to receive donations such as these beautiful Easter themed gingerbread biscuits, which were such a delightful gift in such stressful times.”

Helen McSherry, manager of Market Drayton Foodbank said the biscuits were also added to the child holiday meal parcels.

Artisan crisp maker Fairfields Farm also brought a bit of brightness to the day for the doctors and nurses at Colchester Hospital with the delivery of 480 bags of its hand-cooked crisps.

“As a business, we are always looking at ways to support our local community,”​ said Laura Strathern, cofounder of Fairfields Farm.

“We appreciate everything that our frontline workers are doing and wanted to give  them something that might brighten their day and keep them refuelled as they tackle this dreadful virus.”

Fairfields Farm has also pivoted its business to provide national free delivery of its home-grown potatoes and crisps, as well as a new free local delivery service of veg boxes, ordered through its website.

“We’ve made it as easy as possible for people to order what they need online and are offering a free delivery service, as well as a local veg box scheme to the surrounding areas, with a door to door delivery service for those who are vulnerable or self-isolating,” ​added Stathern.

US

General Mills’ Convenience & Foodservice division – which serves the convenience, foodservice and bakery industries – has joined in efforts to help support the beleaguered restaurant industry, including a $100,000 donation to the Restaurant Employee Relief Fund (RERF).

The fund – launched by the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF) – is also at the heart of a nationwide fundraising campaign, called Restaurant Relief American, led by industry icon Guy Fieri.

All monies raised by RERF will go directly to restaurant workers who have lost their jobs and livelihood due to COVID-19.

“This is a crisis that impacts so many of our customers, including the independent, local and beloved restaurants that play such a vital role in our communities,”​ said Alyca Judge, senior marketing manager for General Mills Foodservice.

“Through our donation, we hope to provide some relief to the displaced workers who are the heart and soul of the restaurant industry and show our support during these challenging times.”

The division is also supporting the industry with the tools to adapt their business models to survive the crisis, including #TogetherWeBranch and #FeedingtheFrontlines.

“Beyond our support of the Restaurant Employee Relief Fund, we want to help those restaurant owners and operators who may be struggling to stay in business with some fresh ideas, new tools and resources to tap at a time when many are venturing into new territory with takeout, curbside and delivery efforts,”​ said Judge.

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