The summer of 2022 was unlike any other for the intern class at the Michigan-based grocery store chain SpartanNash.
Instead of undertaking the regular tasks of an internship, they embarked on an unexpected mission: to break a Guinness World Records title.
Wanting to hone their teamwork skills and make history along the way, the group of 24 young interns and a handful of SpartanNash employees helped the company achieve the world record title for the largest packaged food word, using 5,791 total items.
The colossal word measured 45.72 m (150 ft) x 4.88 m (16ft) and laid out in the parking lot of the company’s Grand Rapids headquarters in Michigan, USA, on 20 July 2022.
Food items used to create the huge word included canned corn, green beans and fruit cocktail as well as boxed potatoes, brownies, cereal and pasta.
However, the record-breaking achievement was just the start of the food's journey.
After achieving the world record, SpartanNash donated all the products used in the attempt to local nonprofit Buist Community Assistance Center.
The aim of this organization, which is largely run by volunteers, is to "provide food for today and hope for tomorrow". As well as food items, they also provide clothing and personal care products to their local communities.
"This was an incredible opportunity for the SpartanNash interns to get experience coordinating on a big goal as a team," said Andy Clausen, VP of National Accounts at SpartanNash, who pitched the idea leading up to the launch of the summer internship program.
Claire Stephens, Guinness World Records adjudicator, was on site to verify the world record attempt.
The record to beat was a word consisting of 1,111 products, but SpartanNash team’s first letter alone had more than that number of pieces.
"We planned this to allow for our interns to have something that sets them apart—not many people have a Guinness World Records title on their resume," added Andy Clausen.
"The interns came together to create solutions, have fun and serve our community - a great example of our core behaviors in action."
"It was amazing to see all of the work that went into developing a cohesive plan in order to break the record. Each and every person that assisted played an important role in ensuring the success of this project. We did more than just break a record--we developed organizational and communication skills while also becoming world record breakers!" - Medina Vila, Intern at SpartanNash
The previous record for largest packaged food word consisted of 1,111 items and was achieved by Freefrom Foods International Association (China), in Hong Kong, China, on 8 July 2018.
Check out other world record titles that drove big food donations:
- Largest canned food mosaic (image): 6.70 m (22 ft) x 7.82 m (25 ft. 8 in) achieved by DoorDash (USA)
- Most fruit and vegetables donated in 24 hours: 77,529.73 kg (170,923 lb 12 oz) by the Sacramento Convention and Visitors Bureau (USA)
- Largest donation of baked goods: 24,480 kg (53,969lb 2.65oz) by Grupo Bimbo (Mexico)
How are you and your organization inspiring your audiences? Attempt to break a world record for brand awareness, a product launch, celebration, CSR, fundraising or employee engagement – Find out more here, or contact us for more information.