What was just a concept two years ago is now a social mission-driven business helping to feed hundreds of thousands of individuals struggling with hunger in the United States. With more than 49 million people in the U.S. without enough to eat, Dan Grinberg founded Elara Foodservice Disposables with the purpose of creating not only an innovative foodservice disposables manufacturer, but also a company that built hunger relief into the DNA of the company.
At the time of Elara’s founding, the company also launched its One Case • One Meal program, in which Elara donates the financial equivalent of one meal to a food bank for every case of products purchased by its customers. There is no cap on the number of donations, and so as the company grows, so grows the number of meals Elara helps to provide. Since the inception of the program, Elara has helped provide more than 300,000 meals.
The concept of a social enterprise, one that serves society as it conducts its regular course of business, is widely supported by consumers. According to the 2011 Cone/Echo Global CR Study, 93% of consumers want brands to make the world a better place, and according to the 2010 Cone Cause Evolution Study, 80% of consumers are willing to switch from one brand to another brand that is about the same in price and quality if the other brand is associated with a good cause.
Many foodservice distributors support social mindedness, as well. DiCarlo Food Service is one of the largest distributors in the tri-state area of New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania; is active in a number of hunger relief initiatives; and is a distributor of Elara products to foodservice operators. DiCarlo was recently honored by Elara in a ceremony highlighting the nearly 10,000 meals DiCarlo was responsible for providing through Elara’s One Case • One Meal program in 2012 to the Long Island, NY, food bank Island Harvest.
Pictured: Dan Grinberg, President at Elara; Darci Rodriguez, VP of Sales at Elara; Vincent DiCarlo Jr., VP of Purchasing & Marketing at Dicarlo; Randi Shubin Dresner, CEO at Island Harvest
DiCarlo sees many benefits to One Case • One Meal. "In supplying a meal to someone in need for every case of Elara's products purchased, DiCarlo and Elara are raising the bar for the foodservice industry," states Vincent DiCarlo Jr., Vice President of Purchasing and Marketing at DiCarlo. “Our employees are ecstatic that we are making a difference in our hunger relief
efforts, and our customers have demonstrated deep support of Elara's One Case • One Meal program, helping to drive further product sales. We look forward to continuing to deliver new, innovative approaches to tackling the hunger problem together with Elara."
"I can't say enough about Elara's One Case • One Meal program," states Island Harvest CEO Randi Shubin Dresner. “Providing hundreds of thousands of meals to those in need is a critical service for our communities on Long Island, especially with the recent devastating impact of Superstorm Sandy. Elara's business model can be used as an example for other companies seeking to have a much deeper impact on its neighbors and society."
"As a business in the foodservice industry, to think that there are so many in our country struggling to put food on the table is truly heartbreaking," says Elara’s Grinberg. "In founding Elara, we wanted to make the business of making a difference ingrained in the business. We are doing this by systematizing hunger relief into our operations, so that the more successful we are in helping our customer grow, the more relief we can provide to those who are struggling with hunger.
"There are many different ways companies can incorporate social responsibility into their businesses” Grinberg continues. “Given the growing support of socially conscious brands, we hope to see more companies adopting innovative business models that will help solve more of the problems facing our society."
About Elara Foodservice Disposables LLC
Elara Foodservice Disposables is a designer and producer of high quality food contact gloves, food storage bags and related products for restaurant and institutional foodservice operators. The company is dedicated to providing customers with high quality products and food safety programs at affordable prices. Elara also has a social mission built into its DNA – fighting hunger. For every case of product it sells, Elara provides a meal for someone struggling with hunger. Headquartered in Jericho, NY, Elara was founded by Dan Grinberg, a recognized supporter of hunger relief who previously built and sold FoodHandler Inc. For more information about Elara Foodservice Disposables, visit http://elaradisposables.com.