GOLDEN VALLEY, Minnesota — The need at food shelves has grown exponentially during the COVID-19 pandemic, and there are often products that families can't find, like milk.
A Minnesota Company is trying to fill that void.
"It is one of the most high-in-demand items from our food shelf and other hunger relief partners, but it's a really tough thing to donate because it requires refrigeration from start to finish when it finally shows up on somebody's table,” says Heather Olson with Second Harvest Heartland.
A Minnesota company that knows a thing or two about the delicious and nutritious drink has stepped in to fill the void.
“It's a unique way to satisfy that need for milk in a situation where refrigeration isn't readily available,” says Rachel Kyllo with Kemps.
Kemps started making shelf-stable milk, milk that doesn't need to be refrigerated. It's not a new concept: in fact it's used a lot in other countries, but Americans are used to grabbing their milk fresh and cold from the dairy case.
“It just is processed at a different temperature, and filled into a 100% sterile package, and sealed in a way that is able to stay fresh for up to a year in shelf stable temperatures,” says Kyllo.
Last year Kemps made the shelf-stable milk exclusively for food shelves, but this year they not only upped their donation to 750,000 containers, but they also added a consumer twist.
“It's a new feature to our program where we're actually making the product available to supermarkets throughout Minnesota. Where a shopper would buy one container, we make a commitment to donate a container to the food shelves,” Kyllo says.
So, why would you want to try it? Well, the donation component of course, but it's also extremely convenient.
“One of the side benefits of course, because it is shelf stable, it's perfect for a backpack or any situation where you might not have refrigeration with you,” says Kyllo.
Now that may be a rare situation for you, but take a moment to think about those who rely on food shelves and what a difference a product like this might make in their lives.
“Families can get it, and depending on their home-life situation, if they're experiencing homelessness, it doesn't require refrigeration and that's the ticket that is so huge,” says Olson.
If you'd like to buy the 2% shelf-stable milk, it's sold at Cub, Kowalski’s and Festival Foods, but look in the aisles because you won't find it next to the other milk.
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