IRVINE, Calif. — Two truckloads of surplus milk donations arrived last week at Southern California’s Second Harvest Food Bank of Orange County from an innovative dairy production facility in Kansas. An extraordinary differentiator and potential game changer for food banks facing intense demand and scarce freezer capacity for perishable donations, the shelf-stable, premium whole milk may feed food-insecure families immediately or up to nine months from now.
The milk donation originates from KanPak U.S., a dairy products subsidiary of Golden State Foods (GSF), one of the largest diversified suppliers to the foodservice and retail industries. KanPak’s U.S. and China operations process more than 25 million gallons of dairy products each year, applying aseptic processing and packaging technology, so the nutrient-rich milk lasts up to nine months, stored on shelves without refrigeration.
“I saw on TV that they were throwing milk away, and I thought that was crazy,” said Larry McGill, Corporate Vice President, GSF and Chief Executive Officer, KanPak U.S. “I knew that there had to be something that we could do to help.”
Just as dairy cows approached the height of their milk production season over the past two months of spring, farmers have dumped excess milk due to rapid, unexpected changes in supply chain demand. As part of the food supply chain, GSF feeds 5 billion people worldwide every day. Refusing to stand by while surplus food goes to waste and more people go hungry, GSF and KanPak quickly launched a surplus milk bottling initiative and drove remarkable speed-to-market in about a month’s time.
New product launches typically take at least three to four months, including regulatory approvals, package design, and quality assurance protocols. From food manufacturing and distribution to nonprofit partnerships and vendor collaboration, KanPak has leveraged expertise, infrastructure, and relationships from across the GSF family of companies and beyond to kick-start its surplus milk supply initiative.
Utilizing readily available capacity on an existing bottling line installed in early 2019, KanPak’s initial production run fast-tracked 150,000 eight-ounce bottles of milk to market. Subsequent runs will potentially double that quantity to 30,000 total gallons of long-shelf-life milk, all to help alleviate hunger.
With transportation support from Centralized Freight Management (CFM), GSF’s freight management company, about two-thirds of the first production run has shipped across the county to Second Harvest Food Bank’s facility in Irvine, also the home of GSF’s global headquarters. Through the nonprofit GSF Foundation, two semi-truck loads of donated milk will benefit the most vulnerable community members experiencing food insecurity amid escalating economic hardship.
“Second Harvest is incredibly proud and grateful for our partnership with GSF and KanPak,” said Harald Herrmann, chief executive officer of Second Harvest Food Bank of Orange County. “Their foresight and innovative mindset have brought aseptic whole milk, which is like protein gold, to our food bank and to the community of people we are humbled to serve.”
In addition to Second Harvest, Kansas Food Bank will also receive a milk donation from the first production run, as the first two of many community organizations that KanPak hopes to support. For hunger relief efforts in rural communities, KanPak’s individually bottled, shelf-stable milk may be distributed unrefrigerated in handy six-pack quantities directly to those in need. Through first responders and community volunteers, premium milk can now reach far-flung destinations with less access to donated food distribution resources. Not only does this effort serve families in need, but it also keeps KanPak’s production plant associates busy making milk and supporting America’s economy.
About Golden State Foods
Golden State Foods (GSF), one of the largest diversified suppliers to the foodservice and retail industries, feeds 5 billion people every day! Headquartered in Irvine, Calif., the company is values-based with proven performance in superior quality, innovation and customer service. Established in 1947, GSF currently services 100+ leading brands (125,000+ restaurants/stores) from its 50+ locations on five continents. Its core businesses include: manufacturing of liquid products, protein, produce, dairy/aseptic, and provides custom distribution services. The company employs approximately 6,000 associates and is 100 percent management-owned and run. Golden State Foods also operates a national non-profit organization, the GSF Foundation.