In 2020, Foodbank Australia has sourced the equivalent of 75 million meals for their 2,400 charity partners for millions of vulnerable Australians. This food is largely donated from an unpredictable supply chain which Foodbank Australia aims to address through its unique partnership with major food product supplier, General Mills.

In a model unique to Foodbank Australia, General Mills’ Rooty Hill plant in Western Sydney will produce on average 10,000 dedicated meals of Latina Fresh ricotta and spinach agnolotti each month, for the next year, for people in need.

Foodbank Australia CEO, Brianna Casey said with the ongoing impacts of COVID-19 being felt right across the country, the value of this new partnership is immeasurable.

“With one in five Australians already having faced food insecurity at some point last year, widespread unemployment and an economic recession have hit hard and fast for families everywhere. People are doing it tough right now and it’s partnerships like this Collaborative Supply Program that enable us to plan ahead and make every dollar go further.”

Casey added: “General Mills are taking the proactive step to guarantee access to delicious, nutritious pasta for Australians who are struggling to put food on the table right now and for the year ahead, and we couldn’t be more grateful.”

Foodbank Australia general manager for national supply chain, Michael Davidson added, “This model allows us to move beyond important, but unpredictable products diverted from landfill to a constant supply of basic essentials like this premium pasta product from General Mills.

“We’ve seen this model operate to great success with other pantry staples and are excited to see this further extension of our partnership with General Mills come to life.

“As a world-leader in this field, and the only foodbank globally to be driving a collaborative supply program with food and grocery industry partners, this really sets the standard for other manufacturers and foodbank organisations. It will have a tremendous impact on ensuring we can provide to those in need.”

The program is a collaboration between Foodbank Australia, General Mills and its supply chain. While General Mills donates the time and labour to make the product, suppliers have generously donated the raw ingredients and packaging to dramatically reduce the cost. Ferraro Dairy Foods, based in Tullamarine, is supplying the ricotta for the pasta filling.

Ferraro Dairy Foods general manager, Brad Ferraro said it was important to help Foodbank during this difficult time. “At Ferraro Dairy, we are always prepared to help families and people in whatever way we can. That’s why it’s great to be involved with this initiative and support people who are hurting in multiple ways.”

General Mills Australia managing director, Peter Everett has called on industry peers to engage in similar partnerships to ensure a bigger impact on the community.

“We have created a template which people and companies can follow using resources and networks they already have to make an even greater difference,” Everett said.

“It’s taken a huge effort from our staff putting this together and while it’s tough for our suppliers to make this donation due to COVID-19, we think it’s the perfect time to make that difference and be a force for good given the impact it will achieve at this critical time.

“The chosen product, chilled, premium Latina Fresh Ricotta and Spinach Agnolotti, takes all of a family’s needs into consideration, being a great source of protein and quick and easy to make for a family meal.”

In addition to product donation, General Mills, through its Foundation, provided Foodbank Australia with a charitable grant of over AU$200,000 to help Foodbank respond to the significant increase in community need for food staples due to the pandemic.