Published: September 2013

ID #: 68245

Journal: J Hunger Environ Nutr

Authors: Ross M, Campbell EC, Webb KL

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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 of foods and beverages at the six food banks. Nearly all donated fruits and vegetables were fresh. However, approximately half of all vegetable donations were potatoes and onions, which are less nutrient-dense than other varieties of vegetables. Oranges, melons, and apples were the top three types of fruits donated, accounting for nearly two-thirds of the total weight of fresh fruit. Researchers also observed a decrease in sugar-sweetened beverage (SSB) and snack donations over the study period, although these changes were not a deliberate result of incorporating nutrition objectives into food procurement procedures. Although quantities of SSBs and snacks  comprised a relatively small percentage of the total weight of donations, they contributed substantial calories to the food parcels distributed to emergency food clients.

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