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 reported having a substantial level of commitment to nutrition. Although most reported a medium or high commitment to nutrition, only 39 percent of food banks reported currently having some type of organizational nutrition policy or guidelines. Staff at four of the California food banks reported actively working to prepare written nutrition policies and discussed the challenges they are encountering in this undertaking. Fresh produce was type of food cited most often by food banks as being included in their nutrition policies or guidelines, while less than one-third reported having a policy or guidelines to decrease foods or beverages of minimal nutritional value (e.g., sugar-sweetened beverages, snacks, and processed meals). Although many food banks indicated they have been successful at increasing their staff, infrastructure, and funding capacity for distribution of more healthful foods, they still face challenges in procuring, handling, and monitoring the quantity of more nutritious foods.
Improving the Nutritional Quality of Emergency Food: A Study of Food Bank Organizational Culture, Capacity, and Practices
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 Nutritional Quality of Foods Distributed to Lower-Income Families Through Emergency Food Services
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. … More