Feeding the Human Spirit is a guiding principle that Kroger Fry’s brands live by. Their commitment to end hunger in communities and eliminate waste across their company is something of an amazing undertaking. Sadly, in the United States an astounding 40 percent of food produced is thrown away. This is where Fry’s’ signature campaign, Zero Hunger Zero Waste, comes into play. Fry’s has established the lofty goal to end the strife of hunger by 2025.
Fry’s has named this program the “Moonshot” Initiative. This national campaign has become a hallmark for the company. “We don’t — and we won’t — have all the answers,” says Jessica Adelman, Kroger’s group vice president of corporate affairs. “While we are clear about our vision, we are flexible about how to get there. We are working closely with both Feeding America and World Wildlife Fund, our longstanding partners, to develop transparent metrics to track our progress.”
Fry’s recognizes that, as a leading grocer in the U.S., it must take a stand. “No family in a community we serve should ever go hungry, and no food in a store we operate should ever go to waste,” says Rodney McMullen, Kroger’s chairman and CEO. “We recognize we have a lot of work to do,” he adds, “but we know when Kroger’s more than 443,000 associates put their passion to work to make something happen, we can uplift our communities, the planet and each other.”
As America’s grocer, the chain has a size and scale that makes this pledge to squashing hunger even more impressive and yet very possible. The chain of 122 locations has some courageous commitments. The largest of these is its Division level allocation of $2 million annually that nonprofits can earn through their Fry’s Community Awards programs. This commitment impacts more than 4,000 Arizona organizations.
Additionally, this corporate citizen giant donates another $1 million in financial support to organizations throughout Arizona. The company focuses on supporting organizations that are concerned with providing nutritious meals. Through its Food Rescue program, Fry’s donates edible food from all its locations to food banks for distribution. In total, Fry’s support amounted to more than $9.4 million meals donated in 2018 alone.
This support creates a full circle approach that sets the food chain apart from its competitors. Inedible food is sent to feed livestock or repurposed for composting programs. And the grocery giant diverts 40 tons of food, cardboard, plastic film and other recycling from landfills. This bold, audacious plan to end hunger and eliminate waste across the enterprise led Fortune Magazine to name Kroger sixth on its exclusive Change the World list in 2018.
And on a personal level, this commitment to excellence in giving back has made for some amazing success stories. Through employee activation, the already impressive impact of Fry’s is amplified even further. At the District 5 Promise Team Summit, associates and customers joined forces to donate 1,239 jars of peanut butter to the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona. The stores’ big pie sale inspired employees to donate 77 pies to Prescott’s Meals on Wheels in Yavapai County.
Through meaningful partnerships, the impact of Fry’s is amplified even further. Working collaboratively with the Phoenix Suns, Mercury, Arizona Coyotes, Arizona Diamondbacks and Sun Devil Athletics, the grocers are able to help an even greater number of people in need. Each fall, 20,000 visitors flock to Arizona Science Center for Fry’s Free Weekend in support of the Phoenix Zoo. During this annual event, attendees can gain free admission courtesy of Fry’s Food Stores. Additionally. alliances with Junior Achievement, USO Arizona, American Red Cross, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Duet Partners in Aging and Health, and Valley of the Sun United Way gain support for their programs thanks to the support of Fry’s.
As Fry’s prepares to open Downtown Phoenix’s first full-service grocery store, the organization is primed to aid the community through yet another facet, by building crucial infrastructure to our burgeoning cityscape. Block 23 — a high-rise, mixed-use development slated to open by the end of 2019 — will most prominently feature a Fry’s Grocery Store on First Street. This long-awaited addition marks a milestone in our capital city’s growth. Fry’s President Monica Garnes was quoted earlier this year touting, “The growth of the city has just been spectacular and we’re thrilled to be a part of really anchoring everything together.” It is truly through Fry’s commitment to community, to people, to the environment and now to making our downtown a more well-rounded atmosphere that Fry’s has established itself as a savior for our city.
Feeding America is the nationwide network of 200 food banks that leads the fight against hunger in the United States. Together, they provide food to more than 46 million people through 60,000 food pantries and meal programs in communities across America. Feeding America also supports programs that improve food security among the people it serves, educates the public about the problem of hunger and advocates for legislation that protects people from going hungry.
World Wildlife Fund
World Wildlife Fund is one of the world’s leading conservation organizations, working in 100 countries for more than half a century. With the support of almost 5 million members worldwide, WWF is dedicated to delivering science-based solutions to preserve the diversity and abundance of life on Earth, halt the degradation of the environment and combat climate change.
Tyler Butler (“Tyler Butler | Giving in Style”), founder and CEO of 11Eleven Consulting, is a corporate social responsibility practitioner and expert leader in the corporate citizenship space. She has served on numerous national and local boards and is often cited as a subject matter expert by Forbes, Entrepreneur, U.S. News & World Report and more.