All Articles Food Food Retail Publix milestone highlights food industry’s efforts to combat hunger

Publix milestone highlights food industry’s efforts to combat hunger

Food retailers such as Publix are stepping up to the plate to respond to food insecurity and help alleviate hunger.

6 min read

FoodFood Retail

Publix donates 100 million pounds of produce


Over the last four years, Publix has donated 100 million pounds of produce to 35 of its Feeding America partner food banks .

To put that amount of food in perspective, if stacked up, it would fill six Publix stores from floor to ceiling and wall to wall; would fill 621,360 shopping carts to their capacity; and would require nearly 1,400 Publix trailers packed to the brim in order to deliver it all.

An effort that kicked off in April of 2020, Publix began purchasing produce from local farms — a move that not only sustained farmers who were struggling as a result of the pandemic but also benefited the retailer’s food bank partners who were supporting those in need during a critical time.

“As a grocery retailer, we can make our largest impact by helping feed our neighbors in need,” said Publix CEO Kevin Murphy. “Donating 100 million pounds of produce is an example of the difference Publix associates make year-round. I am proud of this innovative program and how we continue to find new ways to support the communities we serve, but our work is not done. We look forward to continuing to provide our food bank partners with produce throughout the year.”

Feeding America CEO Claire Babineaux-Fontenot said the organization is, “immensely grateful for the generosity of Publix as we work diligently to end hunger in the United States. Donating 100 million pounds of fresh produce is a significant contribution, and we look forward to continuing to serve people facing hunger together.”

Food industry retailers and platforms are stepping up to the plate and addressing food insecurity through a variety of initiatives, donations and volunteer efforts. In 2022, in conjunction with the White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition and Health, FMI — The Food Industry Association announced commitments the organization and its food retailer, wholesaler and supplier members are making to address food insecurity and improve access to safe and nutritious food, including donating 2 million meals and reaching 100 million consumers with evidence-based nutrition messaging. Publix is among the many grocers and food retailers who are responding to food insecurity and working to alleviate hunger in the communities they serve.


In March, Meijer donated $2 million to 30 food bank partners in communities across the Midwest in an effort to support getting food to those who need it most.

“We recognize the vital role food banks play in addressing hunger and are proud to stand alongside our partners to make a meaningful difference in the lives of those facing food insecurity,” said Rick Keyes, President & CEO of Meijer “We know there is an elevated need in many of our communities, and we want to do our part to help feed our hungry neighbors.”

Meijer has been, “a tremendous partner” to Second Harvest Food Bank of North Central Ohio through weekly food donations that reach families throughout the food bank’s regional network of food pantries an hot meals programs, said the food bank’s president and CEO Julie Chase-Morefield in a news release from Meijer.

“This generous donation will allow us to continue to source fresh (food) for our senior food box program that serves over 1,800 local seniors and delivers produce boxes at our local WIC office to expecting and new mothers,” Chase-Morefield said.

Uber Eats

This spring, Uber Eats announced it would allow consumers to use SNAP/EBT to order groceries directly through the Uber Eats app and work with Albertsons to transport food waste from their stores to food banks and nonprofits, starting in the Washington, D.C., metro area.

Uber Eats also plans to offer access to SNAP/EBT grocery delivery to all eligible retail partners on the platform across the US, allowing customers who use a current EBT card with their Uber Eats account free delivery on all EBT SNAP orders for two months. In addition, Uber Eats and Uber Health will offer deliveries of food-as-medicine prescriptions from health providers and community organizations that can be paid for with patients’ health insurance and/or SNAP benefits.

During the pandemic, Uber also worked with World Central Kitchen to enable delivery of 300,000 fresh meals to at-risk communities across Washington, D.C., Bronx, N.Y., and Newark, N.J.

Natural Grocers

Family-owned natural and organic grocer Natural Grocers has been responding to food insecurity since its founding in 1955.

“My grandmother, Natural Grocers co-founder Margaret Isely, had a generous heart, a deep respect for her community, and knew how life-changing good nutrition could be,” said Raquel Isely, Vice President of Marketing at Natural Grocers in a recent news release. “She and my grandfather got their start by visiting friends and neighbors to share nutrition education and her delicious homemade whole grain bread. When she and my grandfather opened their first store, she always made sure there was ‘extra’ wholesome food around, easily accessible to anyone who needed it.”

Today, the retailer has connected with local food banks near its stores and launched a “Bring Your Own Bag” initiative through which the grocer will donate 5 cents to a partner food bank each time a customer brings their own bag for shopping. To date, the retailer has donated over $1.5 million dollars to local food banks.

Food Lion

On Supermarket Employee Day earlier this year, Food Lion celebrated the donation of 1 million meals through its Food Lion Feeds program to Feeding America over the last three years and has donated over 1 billion meals to the organization since its partnership began in 2014.

“Every day, our associates across Food Lion’s 10-state footprint engage with our efforts to address food insecurity, because our neighbors and their families count on us to nourish them and set them up for success,” said Food Lion President Meg Ham. “Our meal donation aligns with our commitment to nourish our neighbors experiencing hunger and applauds our associates and their ongoing support of Food Lion Feeds. We believe no one should have to choose between dinner and rent or gas and groceries.

Other Publix initiatives:

Each fall, thousands of Publix associates partner with community organizations that help alleviate hunger and food insecurity during the grocer’s Publix Serves volunteer week. Through its Good Together food donation program, the retailer also donates food from its stores that has met its in-store sell-by date but has not passed its expiration date, passing along produce, bakery items and meat to those in need.

Recent related stories:


If you liked this article, sign up to receive one of SmartBrief’s Food & Beverage newsletters. They are among SmartBrief’s more than 250 industry-focused newsletters.