Partnership designed to take insecurity out of supply chain

Foodbank Australia’s ongoing partnership with General Mills Australia is rethinking how companies can contribute and take some of the insecurity out of the food donation ‘surprise’ supply chain.

In a model that is unique to Foodbank Australia, General Mills’ Rooty Hill plant in Western Sydney will produce on average 10,000 dedicated meals of Latina Fresh ricotta and spinach agnolotti each month, for the next year, for people in need.

Foodbank Australia chief executive officer, Brianna Casey, said with the ongoing impacts of COVID-19 being felt right across the country, the value of this new partnership is immeasurable.

“With one in five Australians already having faced food insecurity at some point last year, widespread unemployment and an economic recession have hit hard and fast for families everywhere. People are doing it tough right now and it’s partnerships like this Collaborative Supply Program that enable us to plan ahead and make every dollar go further,” she said

“General Mills are taking the proactive step to guarantee access to delicious, nutritious pasta for Australians who are struggling to put food on the table right now and for the year ahead, and we couldn’t be more grateful,” said Casey.

Foodbank Australia’s general manager – national supply chain, Michael Davidson, added, “This model allows us to move beyond important, but unpredictable products diverted from landfill to a constant supply of basic essentials like this premium pasta product from General Mills.

“We’ve seen this model operate to great success with other pantry staples and are excited to see this further extension of our partnership with General Mills come to life.”

“As the only…foodbank globally to be driving a collaborative supply program with food and grocery industry partners, this really sets the standard for other manufacturers and foodbank organisations. It will have a tremendous impact on ensuring we can provide to those in need,” said Davidson.

The program is a collaboration between Foodbank Australia, General Mills and its supply chain. While General Mills donates the time and labour to make the product, suppliers have generously donated the raw ingredients and packaging to dramatically reduce the cost.

General Mills Australia managing director Peter Everett has called on industry peers to engage in similar partnerships to ensure a bigger impact on the community.

“We’ve created a template which people and companies can follow using resources and networks they already have to make an even greater difference,” Everett said.

“It’s taken a huge effort from our staff putting this together and while it’s tough for our suppliers to make this donation due to COVID-19, we think it’s the perfect time to make that difference and be a force for good given the impact it will achieve at this critical time.”

In addition to product donation, General Mills, through its Foundation, provided Foodbank Australia with a charitable grant of over AU$200,000 (US$ 150,000) to help Foodbank respond to the significant increase in community need for food staples due to the pandemic.

With COVID-19 causing new demographic groups to access food relief for the first time, it’s more important than ever to support the community.