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Grocery Chain Publix Will Buy Excess Food From Farmers to Give to Food Banks

Plus, Sweetgreen returns its $10 million loan from the federal stimulus package, and more news to start your day

Publix exterior.
Supermarket chain Publix announced plans to address the current scarcity/excess problem in America’s food supply chains.
Photo: JHVEPhoto/Shutterstock

Publix is buying excess milk and produce from farmers to donate to food banks

In recent weeks, stories of farmers being forced to dump milk and destroy heaps of fresh produce have been juxtaposed with photos of cars lined up at food banks, an illustration of the surplus and scarcity that can coexist when there’s no easy way to get all the food meant for now-closed schools, hotels, and restaurants into the hands of consumers at grocery stores and pantries.

Supermarket chain Publix is seeking to close that gap between commercial and consumer food supply chains with a new initiative to buy fresh produce and milk from farmers impacted by the pandemic and donate the food directly to Feeding America food banks.

“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 Tood Jones said in an April 22 press release.

According to the grocer, which operates primarily around Florida and the southeast, more than 150,000 pounds of produce and 43,500 gallons of milk will be donated during the first week of the initiative.

And in other news…

  • Some experts warn that an unprecedented global food crisis is just around the corner, as the pandemic has exacerbated food shortages and insecurity around the world. [NYT]
  • Sweetgreen, following in the footsteps of Shake Shack and Kura Sushi, is returning the $10 million it received from the coronavirus stimulus package amid criticism that major chains have benefited from a program for small-business loans. [CNN]
  • Panda Express employees of Asian descent are reportedly seeing increased incidents of xenophobia and harassment during the pandemic. [NBC News]
  • Many owners of small, independent restaurants are doubtful that a new round of aid through the CARES Act’s Paycheck Protection Program will help them. [NYT]
  • Pour one out for Munich’s Oktoberfest, which has been canceled this year due to concerns about the coronavirus. [Reuters]
  • Eminem donated 400 portions of “Mom’s Spaghetti” (cooked by a catering company) to feed frontline workers at two Detroit hospitals. [Insider]

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