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Taking on Food Insecurity Isn’t Greek to Chobani

Words by Leon Kaye
Food Insecurity

As it’s become more obvious that the U.S. is far from emerging from the first wave of the novel coronavirus pandemic, the rollback of phased re-openings across the country threatens to push more people into unemployment and catalyze a rise in food insecurity.

To that end, the pressure is on for companies within the food and agriculture sector to mobilize as best they can in order to take on food insecurity. One company answering that call is Chobani, the upstate New York-based brand that has helped make Greek yogurt a mainstay in many refrigerators.

This week, Chobani announced that it has launched a new flavor, the profits of which the company will donate to Feeding America's network of food banks. From now through September, a strawberry flavored yogurt with a touch of peanut butter will help fight hunger across the U.S.

Chobani’s partnership with Feeding America builds upon the donation of 6.5 million food products to U.S. food banks, homeless shelters and hospital workers, according to the company.

The announcement comes as Feeding America recently estimated that the widespread loss of jobs across the U.S. could lead to an additional 17 million Americans facing the threat of hunger by the end of this year. The number of children facing food insecurity could spike from just over 11 million to 18 million in 2020 as well, according to the nonprofit's estimates. More than 40 percent of mothers raising children under the age of 13 who responded to a recent survey said they are confronting food insecurity, a level at its highest since 2001.

Food banks have a long track record of success as a stopgap measure for Americans who face any threat of food insecurity. But during 2020, the perfect storm of a public health crisis, a breakdown in the food supply chain and economic chaos have together caused food banks to become overwhelmed by people who have suddenly found themselves in dire need.

“Food banks are on the ground addressing the increased need for food assistance in their communities. We are grateful for Chobani’s commitment to fighting hunger during this unprecedented time. Their generous support helps to provide more meals to children and families in need,” said Casey Marsh, chief development officer at Feeding America.

Chobani has long displayed its activist chops. Founder Hamdi Ulukaya, himself an immigrant, and the company have long gone against the grain in corporate America. Ulukaya opened his business in a shuttered Kraft plant within a region that has long faced economic decline. In recent years, the company has been outspoken as to why it hires refugees while paying its workers a living wage. Last week, Chobani joined the ranks of companies that said it would stop buying paid advertising campaigns on Facebook and other social media channels.

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Image credit: Chobani/Facebook

Leon Kaye headshotLeon Kaye

Leon Kaye has written for TriplePundit since 2010, and became its Executive Editor in 2018. He's based in Fresno, CA, from where he happily explores California’s stellar Central Coast and the national parks in the Sierra Nevadas. He's lived in South Korea, the United Arab Emirates and Uruguay, and has traveled to over 70 countries. He's an alum of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County and the University of Southern California.

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