A 2010 study found that there has been a 46% increase since 2005 in the reliance on emergency food by families in need. Surprisingly little is known about the nutritional quality of the food inventory of food bank or pantry programs on which the majority of emergency food clients rely. Adoption of food bank nutrition policies is emerging as one approach to obtain organizational commitment to change. In this study, investigators will document the changes these policies are able to achieve in terms of improved nutritional quality of foods provided. The study has four phases: Phase 1 includes an online survey of U.S. food banks to examine the prevalence and scope of nutrition policies in their organizations; and Phases 2-4 comprise an in-depth comparison study of six selected California food banks (three with nutrition policies and three without), 30 food pantries affiliated with these food banks, and 450 clients attending these food pantries. Investigators will document and compare the nutritional quality of food inventory at food banks over the past three years, and organizational practices at food banks and food pantries regarding provision of healthy foods.
Improving Nutritional Quality of Foods Distributed to Lower-Income Families Through Emergency Food Services
Recent Trends in the Nutritional Quality of Food Banks’ Food and Beverage Inventory: Case Studies of Six California Food Banks
This paper examines trends in the nutritional quality of emergency foods in six California food banks from 2007 to 2010. Over the four-year study period, researchers found a substantial increase in fruit and vegetable donations. In 2010, fruits and vegetables accounted for over half, on average, of the total weight … More
This article discusses the process a nonprofit policy advocacy organization (California Food Policy Advocates) and an academic research center (Center for Weight and Health at University of California, Berkeley) went through to develop policy and practice recommendations aimed at improving the nutritional quality of emergency foods. In February 2012, these … More
Improving the Nutritional Quality of Emergency Food: A Study of Food Bank Organizational Culture, Capacity, and Practices
This paper highlights the results of a national online survey of 137 U.S. food banks and qualitative interviews with senior staff at six California food banks in 2011 regarding the current state of food banks’ nutrition-related organizational culture, capacity, and practices. Researchers found that the majority of U.S. food banks … More