FMI and Feeding America: Decades of Donations

December 21, 2012

Supermarkets are one of the main donation streams for food banks. Read about the major 2012 successes here.

Food Marketing Institute (FMI) and Feeding America released a report earlier this week underscoring the critical contribution food retailers make to their communities through support of local food banks. Titled Decades of Donations: The 2012 Survey of the Food Retail Industry’s Support of Food Banks, the report underscores how critical food banks are to the nation’s anti-hunger support system, and that grocery stores are the top donation stream for Feeding America’s network of food banks.

“More than 50 million Americans, including 17 million children, are at risk of hunger,” said Bob Aiken, president and CEO of Feeding America, in a press release. “Families across the country are struggling to make ends meet, there is the possibility of billions of dollars in cuts to the SNAP program, and food banks are working harder than ever to serve the needs of hungry families in their communities. This is why the substantial donations we receive from the nation’s food retailers are so critically important in helping us provide food to nearly six million Americans each week."

According to Feeding America, food banks experienced a 46% increase in clients between 2006 and 2010.

Ninety-nine percent of all retailers who responded to the survey indicated they support a food bank by donating food. Over one-fifth (21%) of retailers reported donating more than one million pounds of food, and more than one-third (36%) donated at least 100,000 pounds.

One of the most successful initiatives is the Store Donation Program (SDP); donation categories include meat, deli, dairy, bakery, produce, and frozen. SDP helped grow donations from 100 million pounds in 2004 to over 800 million pounds in 2012, making the retail donation stream the largest donation tributary within the Feeding America network.

Last year (2011), 96% of retailers donated cash to food banks (food bank’s top preferred donation). Twenty-six percent of those contributed more than $100,000. Cash contributions to food banks enhance their ability to supplement product categories in need, such as fresh meat, where donations do not meet the demand.

And that’s not all; retailer support of food banks goes far beyond food and grocery items. Many retailers also sponsor food drives (71%), and nearly half facilitate customer donations by selling prepackaged items that food banks have requested. In addition, 50% of retailers indicated that they provide in- kind services such as cash donations, transportation, technical expertise, and more.

The full report covers various product categories; challenges in supply that food retailers and Feeding America are working to collectively address; alternative ways in which food retailers assist food banks, and more.

The Lempert Report feels we should be proud of our contributions to the network of food banks in America and continue our generous support in the future, and not just around the holidays, but year round.