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Apr 20, 2017 • By

MealConnect cuts waste while stocking food shelves

Our long-time partners at Feeding America have a timely and innovative solution for reducing food waste. And we’re helping bring it to life.

They’ve developed a platform called MealConnect that facilitates the easy, safe and quick donation of food from grocery stores, convenience stores and foodservice locations to nonprofit food pantries and meal programs in communities across the U.S.

This video explains how it works.

General Mills – which has worked to reduce food waste for many years – is supporting Feeding America with a $1 million grant to bring this innovative new food rescue platform to food businesses. We’ve joined other companies in this, including Google.org, Starbucks, Walmart and more.

“In addition to committing grant money to Feeding America for MealConnect, we have the ability to leverage our reach and relationships across all food channels to help ensure food retailers and operators are aware of this solution, which they can consider for their own operation,” says Shawn O’Grady, group president for Convenience & Foodservice at General Mills, and senior vice president for Global Revenue Management.

Shawn serves on Feeding America’s Board. He talks about our MealConnect partnership in this audio clip.

Food waste remains a major problem. That’s a dichotomy, considering one in eight Americans faces hunger. According to ReFED, a collaboration of business, nonprofit, foundation and government leaders committed to reducing food waste in the U.S., 72 billion pounds of good, safe food is wasted annually. This figure does not include household food waste, which would add another 54 billion pounds annually.

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And food waste is not just about hunger. There’s our environment.

Whether or not it’s eaten, food uses resources.

Food that is lost or wasted consumes a quarter of all water used by agriculture, requires cropland area the size of China, and is responsible for an estimated seven percent of global greenhouse gas emissions.

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This inefficiency causes $750 billion in annual economic losses and exacerbates food insecurity and malnutrition.

While food waste is a global issue that impacts both people and the planet, the good news is that it’s also an enormous opportunity that can be addressed with targeted actions, says Nicola Dixon, associate director of the General Mills Foundation.

“By supporting innovative solutions like MealConnect, and through continued collaboration across the food system, we can change the trajectory of food waste,” Nicola says.Food-waste-lost-food

MealConnect aligns with our priorities for charitable giving, which include increasing community food security and advancing the sustainability of food and agriculture.

“MealConnect is a fantastic opportunity for us to build on all the great work General Mills has been doing for years to minimize food waste within our own operations,” says Nicola.

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In addition to supporting MealConnect, General Mills also funds a similar mobile technology called FoodCloud for FareShare, which is the U.K.’s largest food rescue organization. The funding from General Mills has been used to expand surplus food supply there by establishing partnerships with food retailers. Today, FareShare is redistributing enough food to provide 25 million meals a year to hungry people.

To help spread the word about MealConnect, tell the manager at your favorite restaurant, butcher shop, convenience store (you name it) about the platform and encourage them to sign up for the program. It’s a free, safe and easy way to get excess food to those facing hunger, instead of a landfill. MealConnect also tracks the food donations for each participating business all year, making tax deductions easier.

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FOR THE MEDIA: Visit our SoundCloud page to download the audio interview with Shawn O’Grady.

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