More than 38 million people in the U.S. face food insecurity, according to the USDA, a number that increased during the COVID-19 pandemic especially among families with children and communities of color. Yet more than 40% of food in America is wasted, filling landfills instead of stomachs. That’s a disservice to both our communities and the planet.
Feeding America®, the largest domestic hunger-relief organization, has been working hard for years to solve both problems. The nonprofit organization rescues 3.6 billion pounds of food each year and distributes it to a network of food banks that serve more than 40 people each year. But Feeding America doesn’t work alone – it relies on partnerships with some of the biggest brands and retailers in the country.
Kroger is a longtime partner of Feeding America, spending a decade running “Bringing Hope to the Table” campaigns where the retailer solicited donations at checkout and tied contributions to the nonprofit to social media activity or purchases of partnering brands. However, Kroger transformed the platform in 2018 with the launch of a Zero Hunger/Zero Waste initiative, an ambitious pledge to end both hunger and food waste in the communities it serves by 2025.
Since then, the retailer has launched multiple initiatives meant to achieve those goals. Kroger rescued 90 million pounds of food from its stores, distribution centers and processing plants during the COVID-19 pandemic and donated 640 million meals to families across the U.S. Consumers can learn to make the most of the ingredients they already have at home by Tweeting a picture of up to three ingredients to the AI-powered @KrogerChefbot account to receive a recipe. In September 2021, the retailer ran a “Help End Hunger Here” campaign that encouraged shoppers to round up their purchases to contribute to Feeding America. Kroger has also focused on reducing packaging waste through both in-store recycling and a mail-in private label recycling program powered by TerraCycle.
Walmart has also set a goal of eliminating waste by 2025. The retailer, which is also one of Feeding America’s longstanding partners, donated 745 million pounds of food in 2020. It has been steadily decreasing the amount of food that it sends to landfills, donating products, recycling them or using them for compost or animal feed. Walmart and sibling retailer Sam’s Club run an annual “Fight Hunger. Spark Change” campaign where shoppers can contribute to food banks through direct donations online and in stores, rounding up purchases, or buying participating brands which are merchandised in special packages.
Ibotta joined the cause in 2022 by kicking off a year-long partnership with Feeding America with a Big Game offer where we donated $1 every time a current user or new referral redeemed an offer for a free pizza. Now we’re embracing the organization’s focus on combating both hunger and food waste by contributing another $25,000 to the organization in April in honor of Earth Month.
Deloitte’s 2022 consumer products industry outlook report found that brands risk losing trust by engaging in “greenwashing” rather than actually helping the environment and social causes. Joining Ibotta’s Earth Month event allows brands to show shoppers they share their values while also providing them with relief from inflation in the form of cash back offers on products they need.
“As inflation continues to rise and constrict spending budgets, there has never been a greater need to be good citizens and positively impact the communities where we live and work,” said Ibotta CEO Bryan Leach.
The digital rebates will help the environment not just through our contribution to Feeding America, but by reducing paper waste caused by traditional coupons and FSIs. Ibotta users redeemed 1 million Earth Month offers during our 2021 event, which received more than 71 million impressions through a mix of in-app media, email blasts, social media, blog posts and national TV spots.
Registration for this year’s Earth Month program closes on March 21, so inquire now.