Danone North America
Last night I was the lucky representative of more than 1,500 colleagues here in the U.S. at Dannon and 100,000 Danoners around the world to receive Sodexo’s recognition as this year’s Hunger Champion. We are deeply grateful for our collaboration in business and for the equally important role we play together to make the world a better place.
Our commitment to quality of life begins with the values we share with Sodexo – that is the foundation of the relationship we enjoy together in business and in pursuit of our social priorities. Danone’s focus on improving quality of life is centered on bringing health through food to as many people as possible.
Here in the U.S., many Americans understand that we have a major obesity problem, however, fewer understand that we have an equally alarming hunger problem. They are flipsides of the same coin and we’re passionate about both. This drives our commitment to educate Americans about the benefits of eating yogurt every day as part of a healthy and balanced lifestyle, as well as doing what we can to provide access to nutritious foods to families across the country struggling with hunger.
In addition to donating millions of pounds of yogurt to Feeding America, last year we started a new program called Sack hunger to engage our consumers and it was successful beyond our greatest expectations. The 1.6 million meals we helped to put on the plates of Americans was more than double our goal not only because of the enthusiastic response from our consumers but from our employees, who reached into their own pockets to add over 550,000 meals to the donation tally. In addition to this, our teams across the U.S. packed by hand over 600,000 nutritious meals for their local Feeding America network food banks. To me, that is the truest demonstration of values in action.
And while we are in the midst of a growing movement, a food revolution, we are guided by our Manifesto, which is really just our mission in action, and it is comprised of three major priorities focused on alimentation, the food and water cycle, and of course our people and organization.
Alimentation is not a commonly used word in English but to us at Danone it translates into our belief that food is health’s most powerful ally. By encouraging healthy diets and lifestyles, we’re nourishing life – meeting the needs and wants of every consumer at each of life’s milestones, with products that respect local cultures. Our aim is promote healthier eating habits, and selling products is only the start.
And for the food and water cycle, we want to strengthen Danone’s ability to protect and optimize our essential resources – water, milk and plastic – and secure our license to operate in a cycle-oriented way. This is one reason why we recently announced our pledge to sustainable agricultural practices, with more naturality in three of our flagship brands, as well as more transparency in how we communicate.
And for our organization and people, we want to build a more solid organization that is better adapted to today’s challenges, with the contribution of our 100,000 Danoners.
Also in the area of growing leaders and diversity, this spring we piloted a new program in Fort Worth and New York City called Girls 4 Tomorrow. Nearly 100 girls from 25 higher needs schools came together with nutrition leaders, business experts and special guests to take part in a unique workshop designed to help them think and act like entrepreneurs to create, develop and refine their ideas aimed at improving health and wellness in their schools. The girls pitched their ideas to a panel of judges, and grants were awarded to 24 winning pitches to help make those ideas a reality. These are our future leaders.
Thank you to the entire Sodexo team for the recognition as this year’s Hunger Champion – and for all the collaboration still to come.
Antoine Remy is the Vice President Food Service for The Dannon Company and Business Development Danone Dairy North America. Antoine is responsible for successfully delivering long-term sustainable and profitable growth in our U.S. Food Service division, as well as nurturing business development opportunities for Danone Dairy North America. The Dannon Company was recently honored at the 17th Annual Sodexo Stop Hunger Foundation Dinner as a 2016 Hunger Champion.
The Partnership for a Healthier America (PHA) was established in 2010 to tackle the childhood obesity crisis by transforming the marketplace and our communities. PHA works with the private sector to make healthier choices easier for busy parents and families. The group ensures that commitments made are commitments kept, by working with unbiased third parties to monitor and publicly report on the progress its partners are making. In choosing partners, PHA works with companies that want to make meaningful commitments, and that have the breadth and depth to positively impact the quality of life of both children and their families on a daily basis.
February is American Heart Month, a great time to commit to a healthy lifestyle by making small changes and incorporating more heart-healthy behaviors that can lead to better heart health. Heart disease remains the leading cause of death in America. It’s a chronic disease that many are genetically predisposed to have, but there is a lot you can do — and help your employees do — to delay or prevent it.
In fact, discussions about cardiovascular health belong in the workplace as much as they belong in the doctor’s office. Researchers suspect there are links between stress — often work-related stress — and heart disease. Stress can not only raise blood pressure, which is a major risk factor for heart disease, but it can also lead to other unhealthy behaviors, like inactivity, high cholesterol or smoking.
Here are a few ways you can encourage employees to reduce stress and stay heart-healthy.
Let’s start with the basics: Eating well and exercising are two of the best things you can do to keep your heart healthy. (After all, it’s called “cardio” for a reason.)
Getting your heart-rate up tends to release endorphins and reduce stress. New research shows that those who are fitter are more likely to survive if they do have a heart attack, and the same study suggests that fitter people are less likely to have heart attacks in the first place. Exercise and good nutrition also help protect against obesity, which leads to high blood pressure (also known as hypertension) a risk factor for heart problems or stroke.
Many workplaces have fitness programs or on-site gyms to make it easier for employees to get exercise — some even reward them with perks for using them. Even if you don’t have access to these amenities, offices can offer standing desks, encourage employees to go for walks during the day, or even have active meetings to get employees moving.
A 2011 study linked poor sleep to a type of inflammation that’s a sign of heart disease. Those with sleep apnea also increase their risk of high blood pressure, which can cause heart attack and stroke. And not getting enough sleep has been linked to weight gain, another risk factor for heart disease.
As an employer, one thing you can do to help your employees get more rest is build flexibility into their schedules. We’ve written in the past about how employees who telecommute or have a flexible schedule get better sleep. It’s not just healthier; it makes them more productive at work, too.
Food & Chocolate
The American Heart Association recommends eating an overall healthy dietary pattern that emphasizes:
- a variety of fruits and vegetables
- whole grains
- low-fat dairy products
- skinless poultry and fish
- nuts and legumes
- non-tropical vegetable oils
Chocolate – You don’t want to overdo this one (cardiovascular disease is also linked to obesity after all), but a small amount of chocolate may help your heart. Some studies have found that the flavanols, the chemical compounds found in cocoa beans, can reduce blood pressure.
Chocolate is made from cocoa beans, which are actually seeds from the fruit of the cacao tree. Chocolate’s health benefits come from flavanols, antioxidants found in the cocoa bean. Other foods rich in flavanols include red wine, tea, onions, peanuts, berries, apples, and cranberries.
Dark chocolate may provide health benefits, but even small amounts still add calories, fat, and sugar to your diet. Choose at least 70% dark chocolate and eat only about 1oz/day.
How are you planning to promote cardiovascular health in your workplace this month? Please tell us in the comments.
Jackie Sharp is the Senior Manager of Health & Well-Being for Sodexo North America responsible for guiding Sodexo’s commitment to programs, initiatives and partnerships that improve health and well-being for individuals, organizations and communities. Jackie is a Registered and Licensed Dietitian who specializes in corporate wellness, sports nutrition and physical fitness.
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— Sodexo USA, Inc. (@sodexoUSA) February 16, 2016
On behalf of the children, families and community of the South Bronx, I thank you for opportunity to share my story, my passion and my mission with you. One might wonder what a teacher from the South Bronx – the poorest Congressional District in America – would have to say? The answer is simple; Green Bronx Machine! Many years ago my students and I began to observe that as waistlines expanded, engagement and opportunities in school decreased, school performance suffered, and hope and ambition became minimized. Originally an after-school, alternative program for high school students, Green Bronx Machine has evolved into K-12+ model fully integrated into core curriculum. Our students grow, eat and love their vegetables en route to spectacular academic performance.