Recognized for “progress against audacious sustainability goals in difficult circumstances,” Kroger is WGB’s Retailer of the Year.

While COVID represented a threat to an internal plan to donate rescued food—a cornerstone of Kroger’s Zero Hunger | Zero Waste social impact plan, writes WGB’s Jon Springer—by the end of 2020, the Cincinnati-based retailer was still on track with its ambitions.

It adjusted to a reduction in surplus food by increasing its charitable cash donations toward hunger relief organizations to $213 million, or slightly more than two-thirds of the more than $300 million the foundation contributed last year.

The combination of rescued food—about 90 million pounds—and cash increased its total donations to an equivalent of 640 million meals in fiscal 2020, or a 29% increase from the 493 million meals it donated in fiscal 2019. Since kicking off Zero Hunger | Zero Waste in 2017, Kroger has donated the equivalent of 1 billion meals.