Sarah Youssef giving us a glimpse about Million Meals Campaign

We’re more than proud to say that we’ve transformed our aesthetic ‘Gathering’ theme into a Creating Shared Value campaign “Gathering for Good, to Feed Millions” to support Egypt’s daily wage workers with 2.2 Million Meals during Ramadan. PepsiCo directed more than 22 Million pounds to the most vulnerable communities who were affected by COVID-19.

Coronavirus has taken the world by storm in about one month, threatening millions of people around the world with unemployment and uncertainty. As a counter-measure numerous public figures and corporates in Egypt took action to support the Egyptian community, how did PepsiCo contribute in that context?
The sudden halt in several industries indeed has caused significant damage with layoffs becoming a trend as emergency solutions for several private sector companies. We understand that our responsibility extends beyond the boundaries of our company and we are totally aware of our influence in the community we operate in.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, we worked swiftly to identify our main challenges and find ways to resolve them. We focused on two fronts: Firstly, ensuring the safety of our internal team and the second is supporting Egyptians as a whole especially those who were affected by the precautionary measures taken for the spread of the coronavirus.

Our efforts focused on supporting the white army and fighting food insecurity, and we directed more than 22 Million pounds to the most vulnerable communities who were affected by COVID-19.

We started by participating in the “Goodness Challenge” in cooperation with the Egyptian Food Bank to support daily wage workers who were severely affected by the precautionary measures of COVID-19. Subsequently, it was extended with them through launching “Gathering for Good, to Feed Millions” campaign sponsored by Pepsi and Chipsy and in cooperation with PepsiCo Foundation, through donating two million meals to daily wage workers in all Egyptian governorates during Ramadan.

As for the white army we donated 25,000 N95 masks to Tahya Misr Fund and the Ministry of Health and Population, in order to support our heroes who are doing their utmost since we started the pandemic.

Additionally, PepsiCo Egypt is taking a leading role in the coalition created in collaboration with different private sector entities, UNICEF and the American Chamber of Commerce, aiming at enabling our medical task force with the needed supplies to operate safely in 50 quarantine hospitals, 1000 health units and 300 public hospital.

How has the Covid-19 situation affected PepsiCo Egypt’s business? What measures have you taken to guarantee the safety of your employees and that of your products?
We know that everyone is watching the Coronavirus updates with feelings of worry and uncertainty, yet, we are placing the safety and wellbeing of our employees on top of our priorities. We are doing everything in our abilities and taking all the necessary precautions to keep our teams safe whether they are performing critical work in the factory, managing our supply chain or working remotely in line with the WHO and the Ministry of Health and Population recommendations.

Certain precautions were deployed to guarantee a safe work environment for our people. All our administrative employees were asked to work from home, physical meetings are replaced by webcasts and virtual ones to communicate the company’s updates. We are freeing spaces and minimising the human interactions to the lowest level at our plants to allow our colleagues to maintain the production process smoothly.

This year you went in a direction that was different from past years. Can you tell us a little bit about “Gathering for good, to feed millions” campaign and the rationale behind it?
Indeed, our platform for Ramadan campaigns over the past few years is the Egyptian “gatherings” as everyone know. Despite the current situation, we wanted to keep the same spirit.

PepsiCo globally and the PepsiCo Foundation launched “Million Meals -Give Hope Give Food- initiative” and donated $45 million to provide 50 million meals across several countries under the food security pillar of this campaign.

As for Egypt, our aesthetic “gathering” is different and valuable this year. That’s why Pepsi and Chipsy thought of doing a good deed and bringing people together by helping communities affected by COVID 19 in solidarity with our nation, through the “Gathering for Good, to Feed Millions” in collaboration with the PepsiCo Foundation and the Egyptian Food Bank. The initiative targeted the daily wage workers’ food security by delivering two million meals across Egyptian governorates in the holy month of Ramadan.

Also, a big shout out to the PepsiCo family and all Egyptians who gave a true testament of solidarity by contributing in “Gathering for Good, to Feed Millions”, which allowed us to distribute an extra 200,000 meals when the PepsiCo Foundation double matched the donation to have a total of 2.200.000 meals distributed to daily wage worker.

Do you think this pandemic is going to lead to permanent changes in the way business is operating all over the world? Do you expect these changes to also affect businesses in Egypt and the region?
The global pandemic is causing unprecedented disruption around the world. Business owners, operators and employees face job losses and imminent economic impacts. Companies worldwide, in Egypt and the Middle East will have to turn their attention to the upcoming period of unpredictable and possibly muted economic recovery.

What follows will be a decade of the Never Normal, a new era defined by fast changing shifts in cultural norms, societal values and behaviours. With these emerging new behaviours, organisations have an opportunity to reimagine their digital strategies to capture new marketplace opportunities and digital customer segments. Although the crisis is still unfolding, it’s already clear we’ve learnt that building resilience into our organisational DNA and putting our people first is more important than ever.