Food Banks, Food Retailing, and Food Security

Project: Research project

Project Details


Food banks are an essential part of efforts to alleviate food insecurity in the United States. In
2018, food banks delivered 1.4 billion pounds of food to over 51 million Americans. Despite the
economic and social importance of food banks, we know little about the role of food banks in the
food supply chain. In this proposal, we explain the symbiotic relationship between food banks
and food retailers, to test the impact of food donations on retail pricing, to estimate the impact of
food banks on the depth of food insecurity, and to test the impact of food-bank donations on
retail food loss. Our proposed research aims to develop a set of theoretical and empirical models
that examine these questions by combining a unique data set of food donations with existing
census and retail scanner data, and data generated by Feeding America through their Map the
Meal Gap (MMG) data initiative. By focusing new analytical techniques on the role of food
banks in the food economy, our research seeks to advance the state of theoretical and empirical
knowledge on how food banks have emerged as a private-sector solution to critical public-policy
Effective start/end date5/15/207/14/22


  • USDA: National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA): $499,992.00


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