Fresh Food

Dole’s Global Transformation

Fights against food insecurity and waste worldwide, aims to increase business value 50%
Photograph courtesy of Dole

Dole is off to an auspicious and potentially transformative start to 2021—on a global scale. Dole Packaged Goods kicked off a powerful malnutrition campaign in key cities across the U.S. And Dole Asia Holdings and its subsidiaries launched the Sunshine for All Fund, a $2 million annual fund that will support global strategic partnerships and innovation in sustainability, food access and waste. 

Earlier this month, Dole Packaged Foods in Westlake Village, Calif., launched an experiential initiative aimed at shining a light on gaps in nutrition access, affordability and acceptance in the U.S. with a number of high-impact Malnutrition Label billboards in cities including New York, Los Angeles and Baltimore, along with a YouTube video campaign.

Each label shines a light on malnutrition, touching on food insecurity, obesity and the importance of good nutrition at the local, regional, national and global levels with the goal of driving awareness of systemic food inequity. One Malnutrition Fact, for example, cites that 117 million U.S. adults suffer from at least one chronic disease related to improper nutrition and lack of exercise.

“Combatting food insecurity and raising awareness about nutritional access is especially timely due to the economic fallouts of COVID-19 driving more and more people and families into the ‘food insecure’ category, Rupen Desai, global CMO told WGB in an email interview.

“We’ve done extensive research into nutrition gaps and food inequality across the country, and found that New York, Los Angeles and Baltimore are facing severe food insecurity,” he continues. “We created this experiential initiative to shed light on gaps in nutrition access, affordability and acceptability and spark conversation around these imperative global issues. The alarming nutritional stats that we projected were meant to further the awareness of the estimated 54 million people facing food insecurity today.”

Dole Packaged Foods, which says its committed to providing access to sustainable nutrition for one billion people and moving towards zero processed sugar in all products by 2025, wants to further the awareness of the estimated 54 million people facing food insecurity today.

“In order to achieve the goals outlined within the Dole Promise, which aims to bring access to sustainable nutrition for 1 billion people by 2025, we are taking actionable steps to address these issues in communities facing similar realities,” says Desai. “For example, last fall we started a program in Jackson, Miss.—one of America’s largest food deserts with only one grocery store for every 10,000 residents—that is dedicated to bringing fresh and packaged produce, nutritious meals and educational opportunities to underserved areas.”

Seeking systemic change, the company has also partnered with local government officials and organizations to equip the Up In Farms commissary to provide up to 1,000 meals a day, host weekly farmers’ markets and educational classes at The Boys and Girls Clubs of Central Mississippi, and install learning gardens in local schools.

The Dole Malnutrition Labels were conceived in partnership with DAVID Madrid and Miami, and implemented with support from agency partners including Spark Foundry, High Wide and Handsome, National Experiential and Peppercomm.

Newly Launched Sunshine for All

Some six months after issuing The Dole Promise to the world, Dole Asia Holdings and its subsidiaries are now focusing on both global awareness and immediate action with the launch of its Sunshine for All Fund, a $2 million annual fund that will support global strategic partnerships and innovation in the crucial areas of sustainability, food access and waste.

Global statistics around nutrition continue to worsen, says Dole, which points to the nearly one-quarter of the world’s population that is experiencing moderate or severe food insecurity, while globally one-third of food produced for human consumption is lost or wasted.  

“At Dole, we don’t accept the unequal world we live in,” says Desai. “We believe that good nutrition should be like sunshine—accessible, available, affordable for everyone, not just a few.

“‘Sunshine for All’ is our rallying cry, representing our mission to create a world where everyone—irrespective of race, age, income, location, or gender—has access to healthy nutrition and where our access to healthy food is not to the detriment of the planet now or in the future.”

This year Dole made six promises to the world. Three of them have a direct impact on nutrition, including better people (access to sustainable nutrition); better for planet (working towards zero fruit loss from Dole farms to markets by 2025); and better for all stakeholders, which aims to increase the value of its business 50% by 2025.

The Role of Grocers

How can grocers get involved? “Work together,” says Desai. “When we set out to deliver on these promises we realized that we may not have all the answers today. And we humbly believe that achieving a sustainable future for all cannot be done alone. Our Dole promise is therefore underpinned by key partnerships to innovate, collaborate and approach key stakeholders across the value chain.”

Dole is currently in conversation with grocers and working with key partners to help expand its Sunshine for All initiatives.  

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