Each year, approximately 1 billion pounds of food is wasted. Despite this, nearly 25% of people worldwide are malnourished. Clearly, this nutritional deficiency is not the result of inadequate food production, but rather an issue getting the produced food where it needs to be. Food banks have sought to solve this problem by ensuring that people in need have access to a steady supply of food when they need it.
Food banks rely on donations from farms, manufacturers, distributors, retailers, and consumers. Because of this, the trends of items donated follow the consumer trends in food. Today more than ever, consumers are demanding more fresh foods, resulting in an increased number of fresh food donations relative to shelf-stable non-perishables which were typical for food bank donations in the past.
Unfortunately, fresh food has a limited shelf-life and often arrives at food banks at the end of their consumable period. Often this means that donated food is wasted before it can be distributed to the people who need it. Those who rely on food bank donations for their daily nutrition don't have access to fresh food without the help of food banks, making the availability of donated fresh food all that more important.
In order to better serve the needs of community food banks, the industry needs to improve its supply chain networks. A faster and more efficient chain would allow food to move between donors and food banks without expiring. Additional improvements should be made in the cold chain compliance of these supply networks to better improve the quality of fresh foods that arrive at food banks. Supply chain solutions like Routeique can provide the necessary improvements to food bank supply networks, allowing food to best reach the people who need it. Partnerships with governments and non-government organizations will be key to providing the right framework for improving food bank logistics.