Food insecurity is a very real issue for many Australian’s affecting 1 in 5. It’s an issue very close to heart for Nestlé Foods General Manager Kristina Czepl. Here Kristina shares her personal story and why she is so proud to have found an innovative way of supporting Foodbank Australia.
Both of my parents were refugees following the Second World War, and growing up in Europe, I often heard stories of my parents going hungry as children. In our family, food was valued and never wasted: everybody ate what was on the plate. You would never leave a single bite. My grandma reminded us with every meal to eat up as you never know when you will have your next meal.
Though I have been very fortunate not to experience food insecurity myself, it has always been an issue close to my heart.
Moving to Australia some 20 years ago, it struck me that food insecurity affects one in five, even in the lucky country. Often it is just one unexpected bill or a temporary loss of income that can get a us out of financial balance. That is why I have always been proud of the work we do with Foodbank Australia to help provide food to vulnerable Australians.
Foodbank Australia, the nation’s largest hunger relief organisation, provides millions of meals each year. Demand has increased recently, with bushfires, floods and the COVID-19 pandemic accelerating the issue of food insecurity for many Australians.
As Nestlé has worked with Foodbank for many years, we realise food relief often depends on what’s available – people can receive a mix of items and not necessarily know how to turn them into a nutritious meal.
That’s an issue we wanted to help address. The idea of a recipe base that would make a great-tasting meal no matter what ingredients are on hand was born, and from this, we created the first-ever custom product for Foodbank.
Casseroles have always been an Australian household favourite, just as they were in my family. Our recipe base concept was designed to be the perfect one-pot option to create a versatile and nutritious meal the whole family would love.
We reached out to our suppliers to invite them to support this. 11 partners generously answered the call, donating their resources and time: Olam Spices, Graincorp Foods, Fonterra, GS Hall, Dominion Salt, NZ Sugar, Tate & Lyle, Boxer & Co, Huhtamaki, Labelmakers and Oji Fibre Solutions.
The outcome is truly collaborative. With their support, we have been able to develop and manufacture MAGGI One Pot Hearty Casserole at our factory in New Zealand.
The recipe base allows the cook to use almost any combination of protein and vegetables to make a flavour packed and nutritionally balanced meal for six, whether they prefer a meat or a vegetarian dish. As it’s designed for ‘All Taste, No Waste’, it’s also a handy way to use up leftover vegetables.
I am so proud of our team and grateful to our suppliers for coming together to create such an important product. Thanks to Foodbank, this humble casserole is set to contribute to more than 1.2 million meals for people struggling to put food on the table.
It was a privilege to participate in Foodbank’s Collaborative Supply Chain program and I look forward to our continued support in the years ahead.
As for our humble casserole, we are now looking to make it available in retail as well. We know many families are looking for meal solutions to make the most of what they have in the fridge, and we are pleased to offer a recipe base designed to help tackle food waste.