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.
Recent Trends in the Nutritional Quality of Food Banks’ Food and Beverage Inventory: Case Studies of Six California Food Banks
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
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