Issues of racial and economic justice are often tied together and are directly tied to food. Major food manufacturers often find a natural place to externally focus their racial equity initiatives by addressing food insecurity for communities of color.

“An area where I feel we can make an impact as an industry is in ensuring the accessibility and availability of nutritious food to diverse consumers and children,” said Camille Pierce, senior vice president and chief culture officer, Campbell Soup Co., Camden, NJ. “Campbell has been at the forefront of addressing these issues in our hometown of Camden for years, and it continues to be a priority for us as we work to strengthen and empower healthy communities in our hometowns.”

Despite the positives associated with the General Mills partnership with Feeding America as well as its Box Top earnings for schools, the company evaluated its impact on communities of color and concluded it fell short.

“The General Mills Foundation has partnered with Feeding America for more than 40 years and invested millions of dollars in food insecurity and food recovery, yet Black communities remain disproportionally impacted by food insecurity and the health issues that arise with poor nutrition,” said Juliana Batista, senior director of diversity and inclusion at General Mills, Minneapolis. “Despite giving nearly $1 billion in Box Tops school earnings over 20 years, the achievement gap still exists, impacting Black students’ future opportunities.”

For food equity, General Mills Foundation has committed to direct its philanthropy to address food insecurity that disproportionately affects communities of color. To address the achievement gap in education for Black students, General Mills’ Box Top program will focus on creating greater equity in education for students of color.

Last summer, in the wake of racial justice protests across the United States, Campbell’s committed $1.5 million in financial support over three years to nonprofit organizations to raise awareness, advance education and fight racism and discrimination. With input from the company’s Black resource group, the Campbell Soup Foundation made a $400,000 contribution to the Equal Justice Initiative and $100,000 to the Boris L. Henson Foundation.

The foundation also established social justice funds for each of the company’s employee resource groups and matched employee donations at 100%.

This article is an excerpt from the March 2021 issue of Baking & Snack. To read the entire feature on diversity, click here.