DES MOINES, Iowa — Convenience-store retailer Kum & Go LC is bringing sustainable packaging and compostable kitchenware to its foodservice program.
In the coming months, the company will begin to use compostable salad bowls, lids and cutlery, as well as Biodegradable Products Institute (BPI) certified straws and birchwood stir sticks for stirring coffee and tea.
“Supporting sustainability efforts is important throughout our business,” said Jeff Shamburger, vice president of foodservice for Kum & Go. “By switching our food packaging, we’re reducing waste and better presenting our premium products.”
Sustainability is one of Kum & Go’s core pillars of social responsibility. As of 2018, 41% of the company’s convenience stores were light-emitting diode (LED) certified, according to Kum & Go’s 2018 Corporate Responsibility Report. More recently, Kum & Go launched new reforestation partnerships with Clif Bar and Boxed Water, as well as a campaign with Dr Pepper to offer silicone straws to Kum & Go Rewards members to celebrate Earth Day on April 22.
“Kum & Go is proud of these partnerships,” said Samantha Overmohle, director of category management of beverages for Kum & Go. “With 400 stores in 11 states, we have seen firsthand how small changes like these can make real and lasting impacts in our communities.”
Eco-friendly practices are quickly becoming essential to foodservice operations. One in 4 consumers strongly agree that eco-friendly coffee cups are important in their decision of where to purchase coffee, and that number rises to 34% among consumers 18 to 34 years old, according to data from CSP’s sister research firm, Technomic. Beyond that, Gen Z consumers and millennials said they are willing to pay 60 cents more for coffee in an eco-friendly cup, while older generations are willing to pay 20 to 30 cents more.
Based in Des Moines, Iowa, Kum & Go has nearly 400 stores in 11 states (Iowa, Arkansas, Colorado, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota and Wyoming). The company is No. 18 on the Top 40 update of CSP's 2019 Top 202 ranking of convenience-store chains by number of retail locations.