Interview with Impact Partner, B&G Foods, Inc.

By Scott Lerner, Executive Vice President, General Counsel, Secretary & Chief Compliance Officer at B&G Foods, Inc.

Throughout the years, B&G Foods, which is based in Parsippany, New Jersey, has built a diverse family of brands that includes a wide variety of products from spices & seasonings to frozen vegetables. Today, with more than 50 brands you know and love, including B&G, B&M, Bear Creek, Cream of Wheat, Crisco, Dash, Green Giant, Las Palmas, Le Sueur, Mama Mary’s, Maple Grove Farms, New York Style, Ortega, Polaner, Spice Islands and Victoria, there’s a little something for everyone.

As a food company, we had a desire to partner with a non-profit that is working to get nutritious foods into the hands of those in need. It was also important to our organization to find a partner that is making a significant impact but still small enough that B&G Foods’ involvement would make a meaningful difference. We have found that in America’s Grow-a-Row and are very proud of the programs we collaborated on during our first year of partnership. Some highlights of the partnership include employee volunteer days, distributing fresh produce to areas of the country where our production facilities are located, enlisting our employees in Ohio, Wisconsin and Iowa to volunteer at local food banks, and a gift-in-kind program that enables AGAR to teach cooking lessons to those in need using products that we donated.

B&G Foods is thrilled that over 50% of our corporate employees based in New Jersey volunteered during the harvest. The feedback from our employees was overwhelmingly positive and we are confident our employees walked away from their volunteer experiences with a greater appreciation for the work AGAR is doing to bring delicious, healthy fruits & vegetables to those in need. These volunteer days were also great for teambuilding within our company and provided a fun way for our employees to get together and give back to the community.

One of B&G Foods’ philanthropy principles is to promote food security. As a leading manufacturer of high-quality, well-known food brands, we believe we can make a difference in the community by supporting causes and organizations that promote food security and education to ensure those in need have access to safe and nutritious food. We feel that this principle aligns perfectly with AGAR’s mission and look forward to growing our partnership in the years to come.

It’s important to us that B&G Foods makes a difference in the communities where we live and work. With this in mind, we identified regions of the country where we have production facilities and worked with the AGAR team to earmark part of the harvest to help food banks in those regions. In our first year of partnership, fresh produce from New Jersey was sent to Iowa, Wisconsin and Ohio. B&G Foods employees in these states then volunteered at local food banks to distribute this fresh produce. This aspect of the partnership demonstrates how well AGAR’s mission aligns with ours and provides an excellent opportunity for our employees across the country to directly participate in B&G Foods’ philanthropic initiatives.

I encourage any company considering a partnership with AGAR to tour AGAR’s farms and volunteer at a harvest event. It is an incredible, eye-opening opportunity to see how much manpower is needed to harvest and distribute all the fresh produce that AGAR donates to those in need.

B&G Foods has had a number of charitable partners through the years, but AGAR stands out because as a food company, AGAR’s mission aligns very well with ours, and our partnership with AGAR provides our company and our employees a first-hand opportunity to see how we’re making a difference at a local level. Partnering with very large, national organizations can also be very rewarding, but I think employees might miss the connection of seeing the results of a partnership firsthand. The in-person volunteer opportunities at the AGAR farms and local food banks give our employees an up-close view of how our company’s charitable dollars and volunteer efforts are making a meaningful difference to a relatively small but very impactful charitable organization. Our partnership with AGAR greatly resonated with our company and our employees in year one and we are looking forward to building on this fantastic partnership.

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