Start Date: April 2020

ID #: CAS058

Organization: Centers for Science in the Public Interest

Project Lead: Wootan M, Johnson J

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CSPI, in partnership with researchers from The Lerner Center for Public Health Promotion at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, will conduct a comprehensive scan of policy, business, and legal factors that may support or hamper healthy food bank donations. Findings will be used, in conjunction with HER’s model food bank nutrition standards, to develop recommendations for advocates and policymakers and a model donation policy for grocery stores. The subrecipient will conduct a literature review of reports and policy recommendations from institutions like Harvard, Natural Resources Defense Council, and others that focus on reducing food waste and improving the safety of donated food. The fellow will then use Lexis to conduct a comprehensive scan of state and national policies that affect the nutritional quality of food bank donations. To better understand the potential impact of policy change on food donations, CSPI will examine corporate food donation policies and practices of 10 of the highest grossing U.S. retailers. These include Walmart, Kroger, Albertsons, Ahold Delhaize, Publix, H.E.B., Wakefern, Amazon, Aldi, and Meijer. CSPI will also conduct 10-20 semi-structured interviews with food company executives, anti-hunger experts, food bank directors and operations staff, researchers, members of HER’s expert panel on food bank nutrition standards, and other stakeholders.

Related Research

November 2021

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

December 2020

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

September 2022

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

In 2020, charitable food organizations began adopting Healthy Eating Research (HER) nutrition guidelines, which rank individual foods in tiers (e.g., green, yellow, or red) based on each food’s nutrient profile. This study aimed to validate this HER tier-ranked system against the Healthy Eating Index-2015 (HEI) and develop a formula to summarize the percentages of tier-ranked More