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Pacific Foods donates 24,000 cartons of soup per month for food bank

Kudos to Tualatin, OR-based organic food and beverage company Pacific Foods for taking a proactive approach to the challenges of food waste and food insecurity in the U.S. Last August, 2,000 cases of soup rolled off the lines at Pacific Foods, but they weren’t heading to the grocery store.

They were destined for the Oregon Food Bank as part of Pacific Foods’ promise to produce and donate a minimum of 24,000 cartons of soup per month to help transform local farm surplus produce into packaged soups and other meals. The ongoing commitment will provide 576,000 free meals a year.

“It’s amazing what delicious, healthy recipes Pacific can create from an inconsistent—and seemingly incompatible—list of ingredients,” says Susannah Morgan, CEO of the Oregon Food Bank. “We’re grateful for their generosity, because it’s the kind of nutritious food that our clients are looking for.”

Building on a long-standing partnership that spans decades, Pacific Foods and the Oregon Food Bank have created an innovative partnership. Upon receiving donations in unwieldy proportions or containers, the food bank provides a list of ingredients to Pacific Foods’ development team. The team creates a recipe to best utilize the donations and goes into production with dedicated line time at the factory. This system is also being modeled by others across the country.

The food bank’s partnership with Pacific Foods allows it to say, “Yes” to farmers and producers more often, which strengthens those relationships and delivers shelf-stable product the organization can share with its clients for months. By finding a purpose for more of its edible food donations, the food bank estimates that the program prevents more than 200,000 pounds of food from being wasted per year.

“Our ultimate vision is to create an intentional production system. Our hope is that farmers are inspired to raise dedicated crops for donation because we’ve saved line time to cook up something delicious and nutritious,” says Chuck Eggert, founder and CEO of Pacific Foods.

Pacific Foods’ dedication is already rippling through Oregon, the company says. Talks are in the works with several farmers interested in devoting acres of produce to the food bank to be used in a variety of soup recipes from Pacific.

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