Addressing food waste and hunger through MealConnect

General Mills provides transformational funding to Feeding America, enabling the development and growth of food rescue app, MealConnect.
vegetables on table

Ensuring no food goes to waste

Around the world, food waste remains a major problem.

According to ReFED, a collaboration of business, nonprofit, foundation, and government leaders committed to reducing food waste in the U.S., 38% of U.S. food supply goes to waste annually. While a small portion of U.S. surplus food is diverted for donation to help people in need, too much of the nation’s food goes to landfill, becomes incinerated or is left in fields unharvested.

Simultaneously, millions of people around the world are experiencing hunger.

Feeding America, the nation’s largest domestic hunger-relief organization with a powerful and efficient network of food banks and agency partners, estimates approximately 1 in 6 people turned to charitable food assistance for additional support last year. Additionally, a recent survey found that 80% of Feeding America partner food banks reported either increased or steady demand for emergency food services in June 2023.

At General Mills, we are grounded in the belief that everyone should be food secure and free from hunger. To ensure no food goes to waste and that the world’s precious food is used to nourish people, we leverage our philanthropy as well as General Mills’ deep food system expertise and reach to expand surplus food redistribution and recovery across the food industry.

In partnership with Feeding America, General Mills aligned on a food rescue intervention that would overturn the norm – helping advance food recovery and redistribution of good food to people in need.

Bringing MealConnect to life

In 2017, General Mills provided $1 million in transformative funding to help develop the MealConnect app: a free platform that facilitates the safe and quick donation of food from grocery stores, convenience stores and foodservice locations to nonprofit food pantries and meal programs in communities across the U.S.

General Mills also co-created MealConnect’s Logistics function, helping to reroute rejected or damaged, but perfectly safe, product for donation at food banks.

Once the user (grocery store, convenience store or foodservice location) posts the rejected product to MealConnect, the app takes the user’s current location and next destination, creates a route, and notifies the closest food banks. Once notified, these organizations can accept and confirm delivery with a simple text message or email. Status updates, contact information and donation details are all visible within the MealConnect platform, making it easier for all parties to stay informed and connected. 

Reaching new milestones with MealConnect

As the platform grew, General Mills provided incremental funding to support pilots with seven food banks, so they could use the new technology, refine it, develop best practices, and mentor other food banks. Furthermore, the grant enabled the creation of a national app supported by Feeding America’s already robust food sourcing and donation management program.

In 2020, General Mills invested an additional $2 million to help expand MealConnect's capabilities, including a mobile-friendly design and to establish the ability to connect food banks with farmers to rescue fresh produce.

Enabling billions of meals for people in need

General Mills’ investments in MealConnect since 2017 have been a catalyst for the platform’s rapid growth. More than 56,000 food businesses have donated their surplus food through MealConnect and 60+ food transport companies have adopted the platform. To date, MealConnect has helped rescue more than 6 billion pounds of food from going to waste, enabling more than 5 billion meals to go to people in need.

What is exciting about MealConnect is that the platform continues to grow, innovate, and expand its capabilities, bringing more positive impact to people and the planet. Learn more about MealConnect and our partnership with Feeding America by reading our recent Global Responsibility Report.