Lauren Bush Lauren is the Founder and CEO of FEED, a company with the simple mission of creating good products that help FEED the world. Building on the launch of FEED Projects in 2007, with the sale of tote bags, pencil cases and other items donating millions of meals to kids in need globally through the UN World Food Programme, her social organization has partnered with brands including Target and West Elm to create branded products and reach new audiences.
Last year brought a new way for the public to donate by not purchasing an item but by creating a shared experience around food: FEED Supper, a 30-day campaign leading up to the UN’s World Food Day to inspire people to meet, eat and donate in a thoughtful, personal way. Surpassing the 2014 FEED Supper goal of providing more than one million meals via partners including Feeding America, FEED Supper 2015 is now underway, this time raising the donation goal to two million meals by World Food Day on Oct. 16. Partners include Le Pain Quotidien, which is hosting 30 FEED Supper events over the 30 days of the campaign (hashtag: LPQxFEED) across the US.
Dominik Prinz, Executive Director and NY/SF Head of Strategy for Interbrand (which helped ideate FEED Supper), spoke with Lauren Bush Lauren about how it’s nourishing kids worldwide and the FEED brand, which was named one of Fast Company‘s most innovative companies of 2015 for the successful launch and activation of FEED Supper.
Dominik Prinz: FEED is hosting the second FEED Supper this year after a massive success in 2014. How has FEED Supper changed the game for your brand and how it engages with people around the world?
Lauren Bush Lauren: From the stories of the children we’re helping to feed to the staggering hunger statistics in the US and abroad, FEED has always had a lot to say.
Before FEED Supper, our product was the main platform from which we engaged our audience, and with the meal donation clearly denoted on each product, still allows our customers to tangibly see the impact their purchase is providing.
FEED Supper has given us the opportunity to go a step further and engage folks beyond the purchase of a bag. We believe that food has the power to bring people together and by gathering around the ‘FEED Supper’ table you are not only sharing a meal, but giving hope and opportunity to someone you’ve yet to meet.
DP: Can you share some of the success and impact you’ve achieved last year— and what the ambition for this year is?
LBL: In the inaugural year of FEED Supper, we set out with the lofty goal of providing 1 million meals to children and families around the world. It was incredible to watch as grassroots suppers popped up across the country (and I loved checking them out on my Instagram feed)! Thanks to all who hosted we were able to exceed our goal and provide over 1.9 million meals. This year, we’ve doubled our goal and hope to reach 2 million meals during the month-long activation. Ready, set, Supper!
DP: People from all around the world are hosting FEED Suppers. Why do you think the idea built such traction so quickly?
LBL: FEED Supper is an easy way to make a huge impact. Just $1.10 provides 10 meals and by doing something most of us already do—hosting a dinner party—your family and friends can be apart of a meaningful activation while enjoying conversation over delicious eats.
DP: You’ve done a great job turning FEED Supper into an experience that makes great use of digital channels, from signing up for it on your website, to sharing stories via social media after hosting one. Can you speak a bit about the strategy behind that?
LBL: From its conception, FEED Supper was meant to be a convenient extension of an already traditional practice, gathering our family and friends together to enjoy a meal. We’ve done our best to make hosting as easy as possible. Through the Supper site, you can sign up to host, send out invitations through Paperless Post and set your meal goal so you and your guests can track your progress. Don’t forget to post all photos from your special night using #FEEDsupper!
DP: Thinking five years ahead, what’s your vision for the FEED Supper experience?
LBL: Five years ahead? Over 5 million meals raised sounds about right! I was blown away by the support we saw in year one and just a few days into this year’s activation, we’re well on our way to meeting our 2 million meal goal.
My hope is that one day no child will ever have to question where their next meal is coming from. FEED Supper brings us together to rally behind the cause of hunger and make an impact that will long outlast the month-long activation.
Plan your own FEED Supper and get inspired by checking out others’ FEED Supper events on Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr and Facebook. Below, hear more from Lauren and Dom on how FEED is addressing the world food crisis:
Get more inspiration in our brand leader Q&A series.