One in Four Americans Worried about Having Enough Money for Food

Contacts:          Jen Adach, FRAC, 202-986-2200 or Gary Mickelson, Tyson Foods, 479-290-6111

Washington, D.C. – March 10, 2011 – One in four Americans is worried about having enough money to put food on the table in the next year, according to a national hunger survey by Hart Research Associates, commissioned last month by the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC) and Tyson Foods, Inc. (NYSE: TSN).  Another key finding is that many Americans are unaware of how serious hunger is in their own communities.

The online survey was initiated as part of Tyson’s “KNOW Hunger” campaign, which is focused on helping more people understand and actively address the problem of hunger in the U.S.  The survey found that 24% of respondents indicated they are very or fairly concerned about being able to afford food at some point in the next year, while 31% are slightly worried.

The survey, which is one of the largest and most comprehensive ever conducted on attitudes and perceptions of hunger, also revealed that many Americans may be underestimating the seriousness of hunger in their own community.  Two-thirds of the people surveyed rated hunger as a more serious problem nationally than in their own community. Yet according to a report published in 2010 by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Economic Research Service, 14.7 % of American households are food insecure at least some time during the year, the highest recorded levels since 1995, when the first national food security survey was conducted.

While more than one third of those surveyed indicated they have a direct connection to hunger, 59% of respondents were surprised to learn the parents of hungry children in the U.S. typically have full-time jobs A majority also assumed hunger is concentrated in urban areas, however, according to USDA, hunger is slightly higher among rural households than the national average.

“The research shows that the vast majority of Americans believe that hunger is a problem for the country, and it also shows they are committed to the belief that no one should go hungry,” said Jim Weill, FRAC President. “No community is free from hunger, but the survey demonstrates very broad and deep support for efforts from both the public and private sectors to implementing solutions to this continuing challenge for our nation.”

“As we’ve become involved in hunger relief over the past ten years, engaging our employees, customers and communities, we’ve seen evidence of what this survey confirms,” said John Tyson, chairman of Tyson Foods.  “People do think hunger is a serious issue.  They’re willing to become involved.  But they also need to be shown how it directly impacts their own communities.  We believe creating more awareness creates more involvement.”

“The survey confirms what we see every day,” said Lynn Brantley, president and CEO of the Capital Area Food Bank.  “Hunger affects more than the homeless.  It also impacts people who are employed but simply don’t make enough to consistently feed themselves or their family.  While we provide many different kinds of foods to the agencies we serve, meat and poultry are typically among the most requested, but least available, foods.”

Tyson also released a video today of testimonials from well-known Americans who have experienced hunger.  “I know for us there were plenty of times when I didn’t go to bed with a full stomach and we didn’t know how malnourished we were,” said Spencer Tillman, a network sports commentator and former professional football player who grew up in Oklahoma.  Tillman, TV chef and author Sandra Lee, and President and CEO of the Arkansas Rice Depot food bank Laura Rhea provided comments for the KNOW Hunger campaign.  To see video of their stories go to http://www.tysonfoods.com/Media-Room.aspx

Other key survey findings include:

  • 91% of Americans are committed to the principle that no one should go hungry in the U.S.
  • 89% believe hunger impacts the physical development of infants/toddlers.
  • 53% believe that children often eat cheap, unhealthy foods so families can pay rent.
  • 51% believe that seniors often have to choose between paying for medical prescriptions or food.
  • 54% of Americans say more should be spent to address hunger compared to other problems.
  • 73% see a major hunger relief role for the federal government.
  • 80% see a major role for local organizations/leaders.

For more information on the survey, go to http://www.tysonhungerrelief.com/media-resources.

Tyson Donation; Meat and Poultry Nutrition

As part of the Tyson’s KNOW Hunger campaign, the company is donating one million pounds of boneless chicken to 37 food banks across the country during the month of March.  Each food bank will receive approximately 29,000 pounds of high quality protein, enough to serve 116,000 meals in each community.

According to the “2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans” released by USDA and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, meat and poultry are high quality sources of complete protein, and “proteins are the most important macronutrient in the diet.” They provide essential amino acids, are a source of energy and “are particularly important during growth and development.”  Meat and poultry are excellent sources of heme iron, which is especially important for women, children and adolescent girls, who are often deficient in iron. For more information on the nutritional value of meat and poultry, go to http://www.meatpoultrynutrition.org/ht/d/sp/i/26062/pid/26062.

Tyson Foods has fought hunger in the U.S. for a decade, donating 78 million pounds of protein, or the equivalent of 312 million meals.  The company partners with the Food Research and Action Center, Share Our Strength, Lift Up America, Feeding America, and the League of United Latin American Citizens to raise awareness and help feed the hungry across the nation.

How to Get Involved
John Tyson noted that ending hunger in America depends on the involvement of millions of Americans.  He encouraged people to get involved and take action by:

  • Making financial contributions or volunteering time to local and national  organizations that are fighting hunger by distributing food, enrolling children in school meals or summer food, and working to make programs like these, WIC and food stamps a stronger bulwark against hunger.
  • Joining the effort to educate elected officials, community leaders and other Americans about issues that are critical to the fight against hunger.

For more information on getting involved, click on the following links:  www.tysonhungerrelief.com or www.frac.org

About FRAC
FRAC is the leading national nonprofit organization working to improve public policies and public-private partnerships to end hunger and undernutrition in the United States. FRAC’s staff of expert program analysts and nutritionists can comment on a variety of hunger and nutrition programs, including food stamps, WIC, school lunch and breakfast, summer and afterschool meals, as well as related hunger and obesity issues.

About Tyson Foods
Tyson Foods, Inc. (NYSE:  TSN), founded in 1935 with headquarters in Springdale, Arkansas, is one of the world’s largest processors and marketers of chicken, beef and pork, the second-largest food production company in the Fortune 500 and a member of the S&P 500.  The company produces a wide variety of protein-based and prepared food products and is the recognized market leader in the retail and foodservice markets it serves. Tyson provides products and services to customers throughout the United States and more than 90 countries. The company has approximately 115,000 Team Members employed at more than 400 facilities and offices in the United States and around the world. Through its Core Values, Code of Conduct and Team Member Bill of Rights, Tyson strives to operate with integrity and trust and is committed to creating value for its shareholders, customers and Team Members. The company also strives to be faith-friendly, provide a safe work environment and serve as stewards of the animals, land and environment entrusted to it.

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