A $2 Million Grant from the General Mills Foundation Enabled Expanded MealConnect Capabilities, Including New Mobile-Friendly Design and Ability to Connect Food Banks with Farmers to Rescue Produce Across the Country
Feeding America developed MealConnect as a solution for the nation’s charitable food system, allowing network member food banks to coordinate and receive donations from their local food businesses and grocers. Any restaurant, caterer, local grocery chain, hotel, independent food distribution company, ag producer, and other community food business can use the no-cost platform to donate surplus meals – making MealConnect the only food rescue technology available nationwide. MealConnect serves more than 10,700 nonprofits that benefit from the program’s rescued food.
“As a network of 200 food banks and 60,000 food pantries, serving every county, parish and borough in the United States, Feeding America is uniquely positioned to connect businesses that have extra food to people in need of assistance,” said Katie Fitzgerald, Chief Operating Officer at Feeding America. “We’ve reached this remarkable milestone in rescuing more than 3 billion pounds of food through MealConnect, which will continue to grow as the platform’s technology evolves. Our hope is that even more grocers, food companies, and ag producers will adopt the MealConnect platform which makes it easy to provide food to millions of Americans facing hunger.”
MealConnect has expanded to include a new national produce marketplace and matching system. This system digitally connects the food bank network with growers allowing for produce sharing in a more targeted and efficient manner. Sourcing excess produce early means less product goes to waste as it can be sent to where it can do the greatest good in the shortest amount of time.
The General Mills Foundation’s investments in MealConnect since 2017 have been a catalyst for the platform’s growth. MealConnect’s Logistics function was co-created with General Mills, helping to reroute rejected or damaged, but perfectly safe, product for donation at food banks. In 2020, the General Mills Foundation gave an additional $2 million to build upon and expand the platform to meet the growing need created by the pandemic.
“For the past five years, General Mills has played an instrumental role in the development of MealConnect,” said Mary Jane Melendez, Chief Sustainability and Global Impact Officer, General Mills. “While our role goes well beyond financial support, our strategic philanthropic investment in MealConnect has enabled national scaling and rapid growth of this impactful solution – turning the country’s surplus food into nourishing meals for people facing hunger in our communities coast to coast.”
In addition, Feeding America, in partnership with Slalom, a global consulting firm focused on strategy, technology, and business transformation, is embarking on a multi-year transformation to leverage the power of data and technology in the fight against hunger and food insecurity. MealConnect’s new national produce marketplace and matching system is one of the first successes of this endeavor.
“Slalom believes in fueling growth and innovation, and building a better future, both core tenets that are aligned with our commitment to creating innovative solutions to the world’s biggest challenges, including food insecurity,” said Brian Turner, President, Slalom US Markets. “Our partnership with Feeding America is focused on helping solve for hunger at a scale that can only be achieved and enhanced through the use of data and technology to drive accessibility and adoption, which we’re already seeing from this evolution of MealConnect.”
Product donations made through MealConnect are tax-deductible. Food businesses interested in donating can visit https://mealconnect.org/ to donate today. The MealConnect app is also available for free download in both the iOS App and Google Play stores.