Animal Protein Leaders Call for More Collaboration

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HATCH for Hunger Convenes Dialogue on Food Security Amid Skyrocketing Egg Prices.

A group of the nation’s leading poultry organizations, including the American Egg Board, United Egg Producers and a host of allies in the animal protein sector, gathered this week to tackle the growing challenge of protein access among the country’s food insecure. Nonprofit, HATCH for Hunger, convened the dialogue as part of its continued search for disruptive shared value models to deliver affordable protein to those most in need to solve the growing food insecurity issue.

Founded in 2015 by Jeff Simmons, CEO of Elanco Animal Health and HATCH board chair, HATCH has grown from a regional-based nonprofit coordinating donations from a few of egg producers to Indiana food banks to one that today reaches 20 states, from Florida to California. In 2022, HATCH supplied nearly 50 U.S. food banks and pantries with 5.1 million dozen eggs, equating to more than 31 million meals, despite the severe impact of avian influenza on laying flocks across the country.

“Given the current pressures impacting animal protein prices – like the rising cost of eggs – and the growing number of people facing food insecurity – this event couldn’t have been more timely,” said Danny Leckie, Executive Director of HATCH. “There’s an opportunity now to work alongside the nation’s top decision makers in the animal protein sector to determine what more we can do collectively to make a tangible impact on food insecurity.”

HATCH was founded on a shared value model whereby the organization buys lower value, smaller eggs from producers and delivers them to food banks. This exchange creates enhanced value of the commodity across the chain for producers while improving social conditions in the communities it operates.

“Egg producers in the HATCH supply chain proved the impact of this model by helping HATCH deliver four-times more two-egg meals in 2022 than in 2021 – in the face of unprecedented animal health challenges and macro environmental conditions,” Simmons added. “It’s part of who egg producers are and what they believe in, and I see a future where this model will expand to include other animal proteins as well.”

Today’s HATCH event focused on why animal protein is a key element to addressing food insecurity and how HATCH is uniquely positioned as the conduit to connect animal protein producers and food pantries nationwide. Thereby delivering more nutrient rich, economical animal proteins to communities and people in need and fulfilling HATCH’s higher mission to create meaningful generational change through equitable access to food.

Reaching underserved communities with animal protein can make a huge difference. A single egg provides children with half of the protein they need each day. This is how HATCH is moving the needle today toward feeding the 38 million food-insecure Americans. This has been possible thanks to the organization’s partnership with suppliers including Rose Acre Farms,
S&R Egg Farm, MPS Egg Farms, Country Charm and Nellie’s Free Range Eggs.

As an integral part of HATCH’s protein-supply chain to reach those in need, the food banks are on the front lines along with their pantry partners nationwide. The Atlanta Community Food Bank President and CEO, Kyle Waide, said, “We very much appreciate and value the collaboration we’ve had with HATCH to provide our stakeholders with eggs to help meet their nutritional needs. It’s a partnership that we hope continues to grow, expand and replicate across the nation to help stem the tide of rising food insecurity and the need for high-quality protein in particular.”

HATCH has proven its model with eggs and is ready to expand into additional animal proteins with new partners. This next step will help fulfill HATCH’s vision to transform food insecurity through the continued development of sustainable food systems, nutrition education, and connecting healthy animal proteins to people, building better lives.

“We must all be advocates to get more animal-based, protein-rich meals into the hands of America’s underserved families,” Leckie said. “While it may seem like a big challenge, I know that if we tackle food insecurity collectively, it’s a fight we can win.”

Get involved with HATCH and join in its mission. Donate time locally and beyond, lend expertise at all levels, advocate for animal protein, and provide financial support. To learn more about HATCH, donate and get involved, visit hatchforhunger.com.