How Healthy is Hunger Relief Food?

16 Pages Posted: 15 Apr 2020

See all articles by Robert P. King

Robert P. King

University of Minnesota - Austin

Cael Warren

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Colin Cureton

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Courtney Hoolihan

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Katherine Young Grannon

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Marilyn S. Nanney

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Date Written: March 2016

Abstract

Distributing healthy food is an important goal for hunger relief agencies, but they face many challenges in meeting it. Budgets for purchasing food are limited, and hunger relief agencies often have little influence over the nutritional quality of food they receive through donations. In a recent study, Healthy Eating Index (HEI) scores were calculated monthly using electronic invoice data for food shelves served by two major food banks in Minnesota. While the HEI is directly related to nutrition guidelines and provides great detail in its scoring, implementation requires careful measurement and classification of foods and a rather complex set of calculations. In addition, a significant portion of food distributed by food banks is mixed pallets of free “miscellaneous” that cannot readily be included in HEI calculations. We propose and test a less data‐ and labor‐intensive measure for characterizing the healthfulness of food distributed by hunger relief agencies. This new measure, the Hunger Relief Nutrition Index (HRNI), facilitates nutritional assessment of miscellaneous foods, allows for easy aggregation of healthfulness scores across food sources and time periods, and correlates well with the HEI.

Keywords: Food bank, food shelf, hunger relief, healthy eating index, nutrition

Suggested Citation

King, Robert P. and Warren, Cael and Cureton, Colin and Hoolihan, Courtney and Grannon, Katherine Young and Nanney, Marilyn S., How Healthy is Hunger Relief Food? (March 2016). American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Vol. 98, Issue 2, pp. 533-548, 2016, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3575967 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/ajae/aaw007

Robert P. King (Contact Author)

University of Minnesota - Austin

801 16th Avenue NE
Austin, MN 55912
United States

Cael Warren

affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )

Colin Cureton

affiliation not provided to SSRN

No Address Available

Courtney Hoolihan

affiliation not provided to SSRN

No Address Available

Katherine Young Grannon

affiliation not provided to SSRN

No Address Available

Marilyn S. Nanney

affiliation not provided to SSRN

No Address Available

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