Anyone can talk the talk, but few follow through to walk the walk. That’s what Dole has aspired to in rising to the challenge to keep its promise to deliver nutrition where it’s most needed.
When the pandemic struck at the beginning of the year, food supply chains were completely disrupted. That’s why in April, Dole Packaged Foods, LLC launched an initiative to make nutritious food accessible to those who otherwise would not be able to get it.
The company considered this an extension of its Sunshine for All Promise. In July, Dole Packaged Foods global CMO, Rupen Desai, told Campaign, “The best thing brands can do is be purposeful in acts rather than words and ads.”
He went on to explain the name of the promise. “Our purpose in a way has always been to bring great nutrition to as many people around the world as we can. We’ve now notched it up even more so, saying good nutrition should be like sunshine – it should be accessible and available for everyone.”
Pivoting to Partners During the Pandemic
“The pandemic fast-tracked our need to make these promises, align on them and share them with the world,” Desai noted in a September interview with PR Week.
As the logistical challenge intensified under strict lockdowns, it became clear that Dole could not deliver the fruit to frontline workers on its own. Instead of giving up on its commitment, it found a way with the help of partners.
“We started getting on the phones to contacts on LinkedIn,” Desai told PRWeek. Within weeks, they had secured 45 partners around the globe to assist them in delivering fruit to frontline workers.
Their accomplishments were outlined in the brand’s press release:
- Delivering sunshine for the frontline in partnership with several smoothie chains in local markets, Dole is delivering weekly, nutrient-packed smoothies or fruit care packages to 650 hospitals with personalized messages of gratitude, hope and encouragement to frontline workers from Dole employees. Additionally, the brand is delivering vouchers for Dole products to health care workers in 5,000 hospitals nationwide.
- Teaming up with World Central Kitchen to support seniors and underserved families in California by supplying the wholesome nutrition they need to stay healthy with a donation of 15,000 cases of fruit cups and providing space for meal prep and staging.
- A commitment to Jackson, Mississippi, one of the largest food deserts in the U.S., to close the gap to access to wholesome, healthy food for residents. By working with the Mayor’s Disaster Relief Action, a partnership with Boys & Girls Clubs, and supporting students and families at Galloway Elementary, Dole is providing 2,100 cases of fruit cups and fridge packs, creating healthy meals for underserved families, providing notes of hope and encouragement, and making a cash donation to fix flood damage at local underserved schools. Additionally, Dole is committing to help Jackson close gaps in childhood nutrition over the next year.
- Partnering with Lyft to provide underserved seniors with nutritious foods in Seattle and Chicago. Through a “last-mile” partnership with Lyft, Dole will be paying Lyft drivers to pick up Dole products from outside its warehouses and deliver more than 4,000 cases of fruit cups to assisted living facilities.
- Working with the charity St Mungo’s to donate 14,500 fruit cups that will be distributed to some of the most vulnerable people in London, who are currently housed by the Intercontinental Hotel Group and would otherwise be homeless. In addition, Dole is forging partnerships with food banks in the UK to organize delivery of fruit cups to elderly residents currently isolating.
- Delivering fruit cups to healthcare workers in hospitals in Paris, France; Barcelona, Spain; Auckland, New Zealand; Manila, Philippines; Kobe, Japan; Singapore; Toronto, Canada, as well as those in regions of Thailand, Vietnam, India and Korea.
Desai sees the partnership model as a way to reinforce his defined mission of acts over ads. As he told PR Week: “Now, we have a stated objective in terms of using the power of partnerships, purpose as a business model and acts, not ads.”