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New Report Offers Three Strategies for Food Banks to Distribute Healthier Foods

Congratulations to MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger and the UConn Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity on their groundbreaking new report on the nutritional quality of foods distributed through food banks. 

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Key findings include:

  • A third of food banks have a formal nutrition policy, though just 1 in 7 have a formal policy not to distribute soda, candy, and other unhealthy snack foods. A nutrition policy for donations is important, as they found that nearly 60% of food distributed by food banks is donated.
  • 85% of food banks with nutrition policies say that setting standards does not negatively impact food donations.
  • Some food banks voice fears that if they ask supermarkets and food companies for more healthy and no unhealthy food and beverages, they will stop donating. This survey should help allay those fears. When food banks educate local and regional supermarkets, food companies, and other corporate donors about the need for healthier donations, 99% of donors are positive or neutral about those requests.
  • The report suggests that food banks are interested in additional technical assistance on policies, talking to donors, and how to deal with unwanted food.

The report also highlights three strategies to help food banks better meet the dietary needs of the low income families they serve:

  1. Develop and implement a formal nutrition policy, including not acquiring or distributing unhealthy beverages and snack foods (e.g., soda and other sugary drinks, sweet snacks, savory snacks, and candy)
  2. Implement a nutrition tracking system to monitor and assess the nutritional value of inventory
  3. Educate and engage corporate donors about the kinds of foods and beverages the food bank would like to receive to better serve low income families

We hope you will share these encouraging results via social media:

  • Retweet their post, found here
  • New @MAZONusa report offers 3 ways food banks can distribute healthier food: adopt a formal nutrition policy, use a nutrition tracking system, & educate corporate donors about foods & beverages that better serve low income families. More here: https://t.co/3yjv6qLP0X 
  • “The tens of millions of Americans who utilize [the food bank] system need and deserve the same healthy meal options that we all have come to expect.” @MAZONusa report finds nutrition policies help food banks distribute more healthy, and less unhealthy, foods. https://t.co/3yjv6qLP0X
  • New report from @MAZONusa finds when food banks request healthier foods, and refuse unhealthy foods, donors listen. https://t.co/3yjv6qLP0X
  • 85% of food banks with nutrition policies say that setting standards does not negatively impact food donations. More here: https://t.co/3yjv6qLP0X @MAZONusa