Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the need for food assistance has grown substantially in our country with Feeding America® estimating that an additional 17 million Americans may face hunger, bringing the total to 54 million Americans. At Publix, we view it as part of our mission to work together to help alleviate hunger and to minimize food waste. Whether in our stores through our perishable food recovery program, in the fields where we have helped connect struggling farmers with  families in need or in our communities, we’re always looking for new ways to reduce food waste and feed more people and so are you. Over the past decade, we’ve done a lot of good together, and there’s much more in store.

Doing Good Together—Publix and You

If you’ve ever seen associates making their nightly rounds through the fresh departments across our stores (including deli, meat, produce and dairy), gathering wholesome foods that are safe for consumption but unsalable, you’ve witnessed perishable food recovery in action. Our founder, George Jenkins, believed so strongly in supporting our communities and not wasting any of the precious resources we have that he made it part of our mission statement. Since 2011, through our perishable food recovery program, we have donated more than 525 million pounds of food or 400 million meals to Feeding America member food banks. We know how important fresh foods like fruits, vegetables, milk, eggs and meat are, which is why we regularly make sure our area food banks have the wholesome foods families need. And they’ve needed so much more as of late.

In April 2020, as the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic took shape, local family farms lost substantial produce orders from food service industry customers like schools, restaurants and hotels that closed. Without these orders, farmers were left dumping milk or plowing over crops. At the same time, more individuals and families began turning to Feeding America member food banks.  As we realized the magnitude of the struggles these farmers and families were facing, we implemented a program to purchase surplus produce and milk from farmers and deliver it directly to food banks. Since the program launched, we have purchased and delivered more than 11 million pounds of produce and 500,000 gallons of milk to Feeding America member food banks throughout our operating area.

Local  foodLocal food banks count on us, and you our customers, to feed families in need. Your generous donations in- store during our Food for Sharing register campaigns have contributed almost $96 million dollars in food over the past 11 years, including more than $5 million this year alone.

Together, we have the ability to do a lot of good. . But the work doesn’t stop when the trucks leave the parking lot and the food is delivered. We appreciate the way our customers and associates volunteer their time to support our local food banks by staffing pantries where our neighbors in need come for the foods that will help their families thrive. As a community, we work together, and it makes a difference.

These are the ways you’ve worked with us to help the food banks—whether at the pantry or at the register. But when it comes to minimizing food waste, you can do more at home.

Shopping:

  • Check what you have on hand.
  • Plan out your meals for the week.
  • Utilize uncommon ingredients throughout multiple recipes (i.e. green onion, lemon, cilantro, etc.)
  • Learn to enjoy your leftovers by planning how to reimagine meals. That leftover roast chicken can become a great shredded chicken taco or chicken salad sandwich. Leftover taco meat? Use it as the foundation to build a savory Mexican stew.

Storing:

Once you’ve shopped strategically, you can store your food responsibly. These quick tips will help you extend the longevity of your fruits, veggies, meats and pantry snacks.

Portioning:

  • Portion out snacks for the week in reusable air-tight containers for easy grab-n-go.
  • Wash and cut fruits and veggies you will eat right away and portion them out in reusable air-tight containers.

Refrigerating:

  • Wash produce before putting it in the fridge only if you plan on eating it immediately.
  • For leafy greens with roots or herbs, wrap ends in a wet paper towel before placing in a container.

 Freezing: 

  • Cut fruit that has ripened and freeze to use later for smoothie recipes, banana bread or frozen desserts.
  • Use ice cube trays to freeze oil with herbs, fruit infused water,  or even cookies and milk to enhance other dishes or beverages later on.
  • Check out this guide to freezing food.

 A Second Life:

If all else fails and you do end up with food waste, try composting. Composting is taking food scraps and turning them into fertilizer for your garden.

  • A countertop compost is a great way to recycle as a family and lower your carbon footprint. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), a lot of grocery items — like coffee grounds and eggshells — can be composted, but things like dairy products, fats, grease or oils cannot.
  • Try to separate compostable items from non-compostable items while preparing your food so you can easily throw everything into the correct bin.
  • For a tabletop compost, keep your compost container close to the sink so you can add compostable food scraps as you cook or clean plates.

As responsible citizens in our communities who care for one another and our planet, we can do so much good together every day—and we are.  Thank you for all you do, in our stores, at the food banks and in your homes.

 

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