ARI is a division of AMI Group which was founded in 1989 selling food and beverages to the airline and cruise line industries. American Airlines was the first customer which was eventually followed by all major airlines in The US as well as cruise lines. In subsequent years the company expanded to Europe and the Middle East with a worldwide staff of 43 people.
Fast forward to March 2020 and along comes Covid-19 causing the entire travel world to stop dead in its tracks. Suddenly, there is excess inventory in warehouses everywhere: frozen meals, sandwiches, chips, cookies, cheese, bread. You name it; lots of food in our suppliers’ and customers’ warehouses without a home. Our team went into action! We divided up our workforce and began a grass roots effort calling on food banks, The Salvation Army and other non-profits, Meals on Wheels, and many other outlets to find a home for this inventory and help communities in need as a result of the pandemic.
It was the ultimate pivot, and things started to happen with our first sale of a truckload of sandwiches to a Salvation Army outlet in West Virginia. We were encouraged to contact other offices of The Salvation Army and their Emergency Disaster Services. Working together on a box to support food banks that were completely overwhelmed with demand in the Northeast, we were contracted to supply shelf stable panty boxes to the states of Massachusetts, Ohio and Pennsylvania. This was followed by Minnesota and Washington State where we have also supplied frozen, single entrees as well as shelf-stable breakfast boxes. Through these extraordinary circumstances, we have realized that our sourcing experience, manufacturing and packing facilities and logistical skills are well suited to support food relief.
We were on our way and ARI is now a segment and permanent division of our company with dedicated sales and operations teams. We are expanding with specific products and feeding programs for disaster response and are proud to be a part of the national effort to address the needs of the food insecure population in The US.