McDonalds Global Sustainability Strategy manager: Food donation

McDonald's Global Sustainability Strategy manager: Food donation

 June 30, 2020

During the COVID-19 pandemic, McDonald's and its employees have continued to work hard to expand its food donations to help those in need within local communities.

Simone is McDonald's Global Sustainability Strategy Manager. She shares an article about how McDonald's found a way to donate millions of pounds of food that otherwise might have gone to waste.

Donating unused ingredients to help those in need

"When COVID-19 struck we found ourselves in a situation we’d never been in before - with quality ingredients that we couldn’t use because people were quarantining at home and not visiting restaurants. And in some cases, restaurants were completely closed due to government restrictions. Simultaneously, due to school closures and rising unemployment, food insecurity was becoming an even greater threat to communities in the U.S. and around the world. This meant that, more than ever, we could not let our food go to waste," writes Simone.

"We tapped into the power of our supply chain to expand how we donate food and developed new partnerships with Global FoodBanking Network and Feeding America to make it happen."

Working with partners to distribute food far and wide

For Simone, what was especially inspiring was how the idea of furthering McDonald's food donations came to life around the world. With the guidance of existing partners such as Food Donation Connection and new partners such as The Global FoodBanking Network (GFN) and Feeding America, the company was able to ensure that millions of pounds of "stranded food" did not go to waste and was able to help feed thousands of communities.

McDonald’s Supply Chain and markets around the world sprang into action to find a new home for surplus food, and the company and its franchisees worked with local food banks.

McDonald's changed its food donation policy so ingredients like meat, lettuce, milk and cheese could be donated directly to food banks – reaching communities faster and with far larger quantities than ever before.

"As a global corporation, we have over 38,000 restaurants in 120 countries. That means donating food or supplies isn’t straightforward. Our Owner/Operators, suppliers and distribution centers around the world have always given back to their communities and ensured we avoid food waste," adds Simone.

"The COVID-19 pandemic revealed that we could deepen our impact in communities if we leveraged the agility of our supply chain to get more quality food into the hands of NGO partners to feed communities and ensure as little as possible go to waste."

McDonalds partner quote

Taking action to feed people all over the globe

In the United States, along with support from Food Donation Connection, McDonald’s has donated over nine million pounds - estimated at over $12 million of food to communities and food banks throughout the country since March of this year.

The McDonald’s team in Indonesia donated several pallets of frozen meat and cakes to families through GFN partners Food Cycle in Jakarta and Scholars of Sustenance in Bali. 

In Costa Rica and markets throughout Latin America operated by Arcos Dorados, McDonald’s donated hundreds of thousands of pounds of meat, eggs, milk and produce to vulnerable communities through local organizations such as Banco de Alimentos Costa Rica, dedicated to reducing hunger.

McDonalds Costa RicaBanco de Alimentos employees working hard to reduce hunger in Costa Rica with donations supplied by Arcos Dorados.

In Italy, Germany, the U.K. and Ireland, as citizens went into lockdown, McDonald’s partnered with organizations and local food banks to donate surplus ingredients such as eggs, cheese, milk, meat and produce to families in each of these countries. In the U.K. and Ireland alone over 300 tons of food and more than 100,000 liters of milk has been distributed in more than 1,900 town and cities. Since March 2020, McDonald’s has provided 79 tons of surplus product to FareShare, equating to 188,099 meals. In Italy, the European Food Banks Federation was essential to supporting donations throughout the country.

Over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, McDonald’s Canada donated over 250,000 pounds of food to food banks and other local charities.

In New Zealand, McDonald’s worked with the Global FoodBanking Network to donate hundreds of food items including eggs, butter, lettuce, onions, apples, tomatoes and cheese. And in Singapore, the company worked with Food Bank Singapore to donate milk for migrant workers.

"Ultimately, the Coronavirus crisis reinforced that food security will continue to be a pressing issue for people around the world," Simone concludes. "At the end of the day, we are a people business – and we are nothing without our local communities, customers, supply partners and franchisees. During the good times and the hard times, we’re going to keep working to make sure our communities are fed. We will always take our mission to help feed our communities seriously."

Read Simone's full article.

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