Food giant PepsiCo has announced it will expand its efforts to tackle global food insecurity by increasing its investments in a number of farming and nutrition projects.
Through the PepsiCo Foundation’s Food for Good initiatives, the company will focus both on programmes proven to “build long-term solutions”, and those addressing “immediate hunger needs”.
The news comes following the release of the United Nation’s latest State of Food Security and Nutrition report – which revealed the number of people affected by hunger rose to 828 million in 2021.
This figure is an increase of about 46 million from the end of 2020, and 150 million since the beginning of the pandemic.
The grim picture painted by the report is the result of a combination of adverse factors, recently worsened by the ongoing war between Ukraine and Russia, according to the UN World Food Programme Director David Beasley.
“There is a real danger these numbers will climb even higher in the months ahead,” he said. “The global price spikes in food, fuel and fertilizers that we are seeing as a result of the crisis in Ukraine threaten to push countries around the world into famine.“
In a bid to improve the situation, PepsiCo’s first aim will be increasing the productivity and incomes of small-scale farmers. Working with global partners, PepsiCo will continue its work to “economically [empower] women through regenerative agriculture”.
“To stave off the food crisis, [Food for Good] is mobilising multiple initiatives in communities where there’s substantial vulnerability within Africa, Middle East, Latin America, and Asia,” said the company in a statement, adding that it aims to support 3.5 million farmers and their families between 2022 and 2024.
Beyond this, PepsiCo says it will use the Food for Good programme to tackle food insecurity by improving access to nutritious food for school students around the world.
This will include supporting the Pioneer School Breakfast programme in South Africa, and establishing an initiative which will see the most vulnerable able to “access food with dignity” through malnutrition interventions in Mexico and Guatemala.
“As one of the largest convenient food companies in the world, PepsiCo plays a critical role in leveraging our resources and capabilities to create and inspire local impact on hunger,” said C.D. Glin, Vice President, PepsiCo Foundation and Global Head of Philanthropy, PepsiCo.
“We’re answering the call to address escalating global food insecurity and we plan to continue with our significant investments. But to make a meaningful impact, everyone with a role to play in our global food systems must be a part of the solution to address the immediate need and work on approaches to prevent us from landing in this place of crisis again.”
Alongside boosting its investments, PepsiCo has also announced several new initiatives which aim to educate people on the worsening state of global food and what can be done to fix it.
The company has promised to convene “some of the brightest minds in food security” in a new podcast called Journey to Zero Hunger. Additionally, it will produce the Food for Good Changemaker video series, which will highlight the work of community leaders around the world who are addressing hunger.
This work is part of the company’s pep+ (PepsiCo Positive) strategic end-to-end transformation, which it hopes will inspire positive change for the planet and its people.
PepsiCo and the PepsiCo Foundation also are participating in the Zero Hunger Private Sector Pledge, aiming to invest $100 million in positive agriculture and food security initiatives by 2030 to reduce waste and ensure a more resilient food supply.
Find out how young people are tackling the food crisis on their terms in this episode of the Food Matters Live Podcast: