Food Banking 101

Food banking is about ensuring good food does not go to waste but is instead safely and efficiently redistributed to those in need. So, instead of buying food, a food bank will work closely with the local food industry to “rescue” excess food and ensure it is not unnecessarily sent to landfill. Like any for-profit food organisation, food banks take great care to ensure they only distribute food of the highest standard.

Food banking is also about working efficiently at scale. In the normal course of business farmers, manufacturers, distributors and retailers produce or obtain excess food that they cannot sell. Often this food is in large volumes and if it is to be rescued, it must be done so quickly.

Most charities do not have the transportation, space or manpower to collect, sort and store a pallet or truckload of donated food but a food bank is specifically set up to do just this. It is able to “bank” large quantities of excess food in a centralised warehouse, and with help from volunteers, sort, pack and re-distribute it through a network of partner charities.

With thousands of food banks on every continent, there are many different models but these are some of the key elements shared by food banks around the world.

Click here to find out how Feeding Hong Kong runs its operations.

What is a food bank?

A food bank is a charitable organisation that collects, sorts, stores and distributes donated food within a community. Traditionally, a food bank does not distribute food directly to those in need. Instead, it serves a network of local charities, who in turn feed the hungry. The world’s first food bank was the St. Mary’s Food Bank Alliance, which was established in 1967 in Arizona, U.S.A.


Our food banking friends around the world

Red Argentina de Bancos de Alimentos Australia Food Bank Brazil Food Bank
Bulgarian Food Bank Food Banks Canada

Chilean Food Bank

ABACO Banco de Alimentos Banco de Alimentos Guayaquil
Egyptian Food Bank FEBA guatemala-food-bank
India food bank Leket Second Harvest
Amba Paraguay fbsa
Taiwanese Food Bank Turkey Food Bank FareShare
Feeding America
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