When Selling Cereal Is Not Enough: A Corporate Response to Hunger During The Pandemic

Interview by Billy Shore

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

How can big consumer brands help make the world a better place? Brown Sugar Kitchen Executive Chef Tanya Holland and Kellogg Ready to Eat Cereal General Manager Doug VanDeVelde share their insights on food insecurity, giving back to the community and the effects of COVID-19. “When the COVID pandemic first started, there was a certain sense of obligation in our company to help secure the food supply… There was a feeling that we had an obligation to help feed the nation,” recounts VanDeVelde. “I’m making an effort to thank everyone who comes in and supports us because it’s a choice they make and a risk they take. Probably 7 times out of 10, they respond, ‘Thank you for what you do for the community,’” says Holland.

“As I started to go through my career at Kellogg’s, it became more and more clear to me that brands need to have a purpose and need to be able to do good in the world,” says VanDeVelde, who recently helped No Kid Hungry raise $700K. “This country has so much bounty, it’s just shameful if we can’t do the basics of seeing that children are fed,” says Holland about her work as a No Kid Hungry ambassador. “What a difference it makes in the performance and attendance of the kids.”

Listen to these important voices of two people who continue to impact their communities.

Resources and Mentions:

Doug VanDeVelde

Doug VanDeVelde

General Manager
Doug VanDeVelde is general manager, Kellogg Ready to Eat Cereal, leading a team responsible for $2B in annual sales. He is a long-time supporter of No Kid Hungry. Doug VanDeVelde has been GM RTEC Category since January 2019. VanDeVelde joined the company in 1997 as director, global ready-to-eat cereal development and was promoted to vice president, global cereal innovation in 1998. He was appointed vice president, global cereal and convenience foods innovation in March 1999 and appointed vice president and general manager, wholesome snacks, Kellogg North America in June of that year. VanDeVelde was appointed vice president and general manager, convenience foods, Kellogg USA in 2000 and to vice president, snacks marketing in 2001. In 2003, VanDeVelde was appointed vice president, new ventures. He was appointed vice president, marketing and innovation, wholesome portable breakfast snacks in 2006; appointed vice president, innovation, snacks in 2007; and promoted to senior vice president, marketing and innovation, snacks in March 2009. He then was appointed SVP Marketing and Innovation for US Morning Foods where he led the RTEC and PopTarts Marketing through 2013 when he became SVP Global Breakfast Category.
Tanya Holland

Tanya Holland

Executive Chef/Owner
Tanya Holland is the Executive Chef/Owner of the internationally renowned and beloved Brown Sugar Kitchen restaurants, located in the San Francisco Bay Area. The author of The Brown Sugar Kitchen Cookbook and New Soul Cooking, Holland competed on the 15th season of Top Chef on Bravo, and was the host and soul food expert on Food Network’s Melting Pot. She is a frequent contributing writer and chef to the James Beard Foundation, and Brown Sugar Kitchen (Oakland, CA) has received multiple Michelin Bib Gourmand awards. She is an in-demand public speaker and lecturer who frequently leads the conversation on inclusion and equity in the hospitality industry. Holland has appeared as a special guest on national television shows and contributed articles to various national magazines and chef compilation cookbooks. Holland has served as the president of the prestigious Les Dames d’Escoffier San Francisco chapter. The City of Oakland declared June 5, 2012 as “Tanya Holland Day,” and in 2013, former Mayor Jean Quan gave her a Key to the City and she was awarded “California Chef and Restaurateur of the Year” by the California Tourism Board. She was appointed as a Culinary Diplomat by the United States' Foreign Service Department for tours in Kazakhstan and Mexico. Holland holds a Bachelor of Arts in Russian Language and Literature from the University of Virginia, and a Grande Diplôme from La Varenne Ecole de Cuisine (Burgundy, France).  

Kellogg Company

Kellogg Company includes brands such as Pringles®, Cheez-It®, Special K®, Kellogg's Frosted Flakes®, Pop-Tarts®, Kellogg's Corn Flakes®, Rice Krispies®, Eggo®, Mini-Wheats®, Kashi®, RXBAR® and more. Net sales in 2018 were approximately $13.5 billion, comprised principally of snacks and convenience foods like cereal and frozen foods. Kellogg brands are beloved in markets around the world. They are also a company with Heart & Soul, committed to creating Better Days for 3 billion people by the end of 2030 through the Kellogg's® Better Days global purpose platform.

Brown Sugar Kitchen

Brown Sugar Kitchen is the creation of Executive Chef Tanya Holland, who brings her exceptional culinary skills, creativity and love of hosting and feeding people to the restaurant. Chef Holland received her formal French training from La Varenne Ecole de Cuisine in Burgundy, France, has an extensive culinary background and has been the recipient of many distinctions, honors and awards.  

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