Publix Is Buying Excess Produce and Dairy from Farmers to Donate to Food Banks
There are some definite supply chain issues happening in the food world right now. The widespread closure of restaurants has left farmers with a glut of excess product, and the closure of packaging and processing facilities has made it more difficult for anything that can be sold to get to market. It’s created an ironic and unfortunate situation where people like dairy farmers have had to dump their supply while store shelves sit empty.
In an effort to play some small role in better allocating America’s food resources, grocery store chain Publix announced its plans to purchase more than 1500,000 pounds of produce and 43,500 gallons of milk directly from farmers. According to a press release, these supplies are sourced from Florida produce farmers and dairy farmers throughout the southeast and will be donated directly to Feeding America’s food banks.
For Publix, it sounds like they were able to leverage their relationships, buying power, and distribution capabilities to make up for current inefficiencies in the food supply chain.
“As a food retailer, we have the unique opportunity to bridge the gap between the needs of families and farmers impacted by the coronavirus pandemic,” Publix CEO Todd Jones said in the press release. “In this time of uncertainty, we are grateful to be able to help Florida’s produce farmers, southeastern dairies and families in our communities.”
In addition to helping feed local communities, the multi-week buying effort is also an essential lifeline for the dairy and produce farmers struggling to make ends meet at a time when demand from wholesale clients like restaurants and schools is down to zero.
“Like so many others right now, Florida farmers are in a time of need,” said Pero Family Farms Food Co. CEO Peter F. Pero IV. “We are humbled Publix is purchasing additional fresh vegetables from us and other local farms to donate to food banks throughout the Southeast.”
In addition to these food donations, Publix says it’s already donated $2 million to Feeding America’s member food banks over the course of the pandemic. Hopefully this will inspire other companies with the capabilities and the funds to support farmers to make similar donations, because the sight of milk, eggs, and produce going to waste a time of such widespread need should inspire everyone to act.