Research & Publications | Healthy Eating Research

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Policy Approaches to Healthier Food Banking

People who rely on the charitable food system both want and deserve nutritious food and beverages that support their health. Yet a 2018 report by MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger and the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity found that, on average, 25 percent of food bank distributions remain unhealthy. CSPI conducted research More

Date: November 2021

Resource Type: Report

Focus Areas: Food Access

Healthier Food Donation Guidelines for Retailers and Distributors

Nutritious donations are more important than ever: 60 million people turned to the charitable food system in 2020. Food banks rely on retail and distributor donations for about 30 percent of inventory, and often receive unwanted unhealthy food, like soda and candy. This resource was developed to help food retailers and distributors donate more nutritious More

Keywords: Food insecurity

Date: October 2021

Resource Type: Tools & Measures

Focus Areas: Food Access

Supporting Wellness at Pantries (SWAP) Toolkit 2021

SWAP was developed in 2016 and revised in 2020 to align with the Healthy Eating Research Nutrition Guidelines for the Charitable Food System. Revised tools include: SWAP Toolkit SWAP and Alignment with the HER Nutrition Guidelines SWAP: Overview of a Stoplight Nutrition System for Food Banks and Food Pantries Steps for Getting Started Using SWAP More

Keywords: Food insecurity

Date: September 2021

Resource Type: Tools & Measures

Focus Areas: Food Access

Promoting Equitable Expansion of the SNAP Online Purchasing Pilot

The USDA Online Purchasing Pilot, which allows SNAP participants to shop and pay for groceries online, rapidly expanded during the COVID-19 pandemic. From March 2020 to March 2021, the number of participating states increased from 5 to 47. This brief assesses whether the Pilot promotes healthy food access (using the criteria of availability and utilization) More

Date: July 2021

Resource Type: Research Brief

Focus Areas: Food Access Nutrition Policy & Programs

Validating a Nutrition Ranking System for Food Pantries Using the Healthy Eating Index-2015

The overall goal of this study is to develop a Healthy Charitable Foods Index that can be used by food banks to translate the pounds by category values into a value that corresponds meaningfully to the USDA’s Healthy Eating Index (HEI) scores. The subrecipient will compare a set of foods in the charitable food system More

USDA Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) Vendor Criteria: An Examination of US Administrative Agency Variations

The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC), administered by the United States Department of Agriculture, is associated with improved healthy food and beverage access due to its requirement for minimum stock of healthy foods and beverages in WIC-eligible stores. The selection and authorization criteria used to authorize WIC vendors varies widely More

Date: March 2021

Resource Type: Journal Article

Focus Areas: Food Access Nutrition Policy & Programs

Food Bank Donations in the United States: A Landscape Review of Federal Policies

Rates of food insecurity have increased substantially in the United States (US), and more families are turning to the charitable food system to help meet their needs. Prior studies have examined the nutritional quality of foods offered through food banks, but little is known about what government policies may shape the healthy food donation landscape. More

Keywords: Food insecurity

Date: December 2020

Resource Type: Journal Article

Focus Areas: Food Access

Retail Strategies to Support Healthy Eating

Healthy Eating Research (HER), Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, and The Food Trust have developed the first national research agenda focused on healthy food retail. The research agenda is the result of a multi-step process, including commissioned research and a Healthy Retail Research convening, which More

Date: November 2020

Resource Type: Report Special Journal Issue

Focus Areas: Food Access Food Retail

Developing & Testing Tools for Ranking Charitable Food

This project will develop and test tools to help food banks and food pantries rank food nutritionally through implementation of the Healthy Eating Research Nutrition Guidelines for the Charitable Food System (HER guidelines). The objectives are to: 1) Revise existing SWAP materials to align with the new HER guidelines and develop new materials to complete More

Keywords: Food insecurity

Date: August 2020

Resource Type: Commissioned Research Project Summary

Focus Areas: Food Access

The Impact of Increasing SNAP Benefits on Stabilizing the Economy, Reducing Poverty and Food Insecurity amid COVID-19 Pandemic

With unemployment currently at a record high as a result of COVID-19, participation in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is expected to increase significantly. Congress has already passed three COVID-19 aid bills, which include SNAP provisions such as funding for emergency benefits for SNAP households and program administrative flexibilities. This issue brief that reviews More

Date: April 2020

Resource Type: Research Brief

Focus Areas: Food Access Nutrition Policy & Programs