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Inside Campbell’s Peachy Zero-Waste Opportunity

peachy
(Photo: Campbell’s production of Just Peachy salsa. Credit: Campbell’s on YouTube)

Six years ago, farmers in New Jersey were paying to send undersized or blemished peaches to the landfill. Campbell’s saw an opportunity to turn those peaches into salsa called Just Peachy, providing a new revenue stream for the local food bank. In a recent interview with Forbes, the company’s head of sustainability describes the corporate advantages.

Talking with local farmers and the food bank about what they needed, Campbell’s came up with a recipe for a shelf-stable peach salsa called Just Peachy. Nine Campbell’s suppliers offered up ingredients and packaging, while nearly 100 of the company’s employees volunteer to produce, box, and palletize the salsa.

The salsa gets sold by the Food Bank of South Jersey at retail outlets and farmer’s markets, and 100% of the proceeds go back to the food bank and its hunger relief programs.

“We want employees to be engaged and to see the entire process, and to feel like they’re actually making a difference in the community that’s tied into the business proposition for society,” David Stangis, VP of corporate responsibility and chief sustainability officer for Campbell’s Soup, told Forbes contributors Jim Ludema and Amber Johnson.

Since Just Peachy launched in August 2012, the effort has saved farmers money, headed off a waste stream, and raised more than $300,000 in revenue for the food bank. That has allowed the organization to provide more than half a million meals for food insecure residents in the area.

For Campbell’s, the partnership has produced several key corporate benefits:

It helped inform the company’s Real Food philosophy and led to other product ideas, Stangis told Forbes. “Inspired in part by the Just Peachy experience, the company has launched other efforts to explore how food waste can be a product development opportunity,” the contributors wrote.

During fiscal year 2017, the company contributed $61.9 million in global giving and 12,200 volunteer hours total. Just Peachy encourages a deep level of employee engagement and gives meaning to work, the Forbes authors say.

“Companies who connect their brand to positive social action earn strong reputations that encourage buying and customer loyalty,” the Forbes contributors pointed out. In April, the Reputation Institute named Campbell’s number one on their list of America’s Most Reputable Companies. The following month, Corporate Responsibility Magazine put the company on its list of 100 Best Corporate Citizens for the ninth consecutive year.

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