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How Midwest Food Bank and Our Partners Fight Food Waste Together

We often hear this question: "Why is all this food donated?" In 2023 alone, we distributed over $482 million worth of food. Midwest Food Bank partners with food producers, manufacturers, and distributors to save products.

Sometimes, the food is something they can't sell. This may result from market challenges due to economic changes, shifting consumer habits, or brand updates. Also, companies usually produce extra to avoid shortages, leading to surplus food products that can be donated. Many companies prefer to donate these extras directly to support their local communities.

"At Kellanova, we have a commitment of feeding 400 million people in need by the end of 2030," says Stephanie Singerland, Chief Philanthropy Officer, Kellanova. Achieving this commitment would not be possible without the support of partners like Midwest Food Bank. They are reliable and consistent in ensuring that our product donations are reaching communities in need across Illinois quickly and efficiently."

Our approach is rooted in urgency. We act quickly to manage these donations because holding onto inventory costs manufacturers money. We use our own trucks and volunteer drivers whenever possible, ensuring timely service. We hire third-party carriers when needed, but our trucks are more cost-effective, allowing us to transport more loads.

Midwest Food Bank mainly handles these types of donated products:

  • Close-dated items: Products that are close to their expiration date and don't have enough time to reach store shelves.
  • Overruns: Extra products made beyond what was forecasted, often cheaper to keep the production line running.
  • Mislabeled items: Products with packaging errors, like missing ingredients or allergen information. Relabeling is too costly, but we have the volunteer resources to repack and relabel these items.
  • Damaged or discontinued goods: Items with damaged packaging or products that are no longer sold in stores.

By managing these donations efficiently, we help ensure that valuable food doesn't go to waste. The food we collect is distributed to our over 2,400 nonprofit partners, who then deliver it to those in need. Together, we make a real difference in our communities, bringing hope and nourishment to those who need it most. 

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