Yum! Brands, the parent company of KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell, has announced the launch of its annual World Hunger Relief effort, the “Pass The Red Cup” challenge, featuring multi-Grammy Award winner Christina Aguilera. The challenge is designed to drive awareness and inspire donations and the effort spans more than 125 countries, over 40,000 KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell restaurants and 1.5 million associates.
According to the United Nations, there are nearly 850 million people around the world who suffer from chronic hunger. Started in 2007, the Yum! Brands initiative works to raise awareness, volunteerism and funds for the United Nations World Food Programme (UNWFP) and other hunger-relief agencies.
“With nearly 850 million people going hungry worldwide, we all need to help find a solution to this critical issue,” said David Novak, Yum! Brands’ Chairman and CEO. “As one of the world’s largest restaurant companies, we have the privilege and responsibility to lead the fight to end hunger and save lives,” he added.
Aguilera is challenging media outlets, celebrities, influencers and her fans around the world to share the hashtag #PassTheRedCup on social media to raise awareness. She is also urging people to donate $5 on the campaign’s website to help feed 20 schoolchildren. Aguilera will appear in a global World Hunger Relief public service announcement and on posters at the company's restaurants, along with other advertising and online efforts.
A volunteer spokesperson for World Hunger Relief since 2009, Aguilera is also an “Ambassador Against Hunger” for WFP and has traveled on relief trips to Rwanda, Haiti and Guatemala. In 2012, the World Food Program USA honored Aguilera and Novak at the U.S. State Department with the George McGovern Leadership Award for their hunger-relief efforts. In addition, she received a special achievement award at the 2012 National Council of La Raza ALMA Awards and was the first recipient of the Muhammad Ali Humanitarian of the Year Award in 2013 for her hunger-relief work.
“The World Hunger Relief campaign is a great example of how much can be accomplished when individuals rally around a good cause,” said Ertharin Cousin, Executive Director of UNWFP. “Because together, by providing access to nutritious food, we can help millions more hungry people create a better future for themselves.”
Yum! says it has raised more than $185 million for WFP and other hunger-relief organizations and provided 740 million meals all over the world since 2007. The company is also working on hunger in the US through its Harvest program - launched over two decades ago, it has donated more than 169 million pounds of food and is the largest prepared-food donation program in the world, says the company.
In March, longtime rivals ConAgra Foods and Procter & Gamble announced they were teaming up to help Feeding America tackle the ongoing issue of childhood hunger here in the US with the 2014 Child Hunger Ends Here campaign, through which the companies aim to donate up to 7 million meals to the more than 20 percent of children across the country that are food insecure.
Specially marked packages of 42 ConAgra Foods and P&G brands will feature 8-digit codes — for each code entered on the campaign website or Facebook page from through August 2014, ConAgra or P&G, respectively, will donate the monetary equivalent of one meal (11.1¢) to Feeding America. Codes can be entered through June 2014 for P&G brands and August 2014 for ConAgra Foods brands.
Another Yum! Brand — Long John Silver's — was in the news earlier this year for its campaign to promote seafood as a dining option that’s healthy for people and for the world at large. The campaign tried to convey that seafood is a more sustainable protein source than land-based meats, which is true in the best-case scenario — where the fish is responsibly sourced. But, the company initially had not backed its claim with supplier information, raising questions on the image makeover. The company later told SB that its two primary suppliers — Trident Seafoods and American Seafoods Group — are certified by the Marine Stewardship Council.