Working Table 6

New boundaries for food redistribution


Emma Walsh
International Partnerships Director, FoodCloud

This Working Table focused on new boundaries for food redistribution. Participants started by reflecting on trends of the food systems following also the interesting discussions during the FEBA Annual Convention’s plenary sessions. The facilitator of the Working Table also presented an overview on COVID-19 and its huge impact on the consumers changes in terms of food waste, the sources of surplus food for Food Banks and the changes and learnings. Participants agreed that the Food System is changing and Food Banks have a pivotal role to play in contributing to a more sustainable food future. Food Banks feel that it isn’t very much recognised and the environment where they are operating.

The Working Tables started to list some of the challenges Food Banks are facing especially in terms of redistribution of food and the difficulty to connect with the network of donors.

Another important challenge for Food Banks is to change the sources of food and working on the optimization of the process. Participants discussed the challenge to concentrate on a balanced and diversified diet, especially to look for new sources of food concentrating also on fresh and perishable products. In this context, technology can be a great boost also from a logistical point of view and even tough FEBA is doing a great work on digital transformation and data collection, FEBA members need a lot of resources and capacity building for innovation and technology.

The discussion also focused on the new poor and the challenges and stigma associated with accessing food. Moreover, participants discussed the need to connect producers and the availabilities of food at the farm level, but the lack of economic incentives stop the process of bringing producers on board.

Participants also explored the need to invest on Food Banks also to position themselves in a new light to receive the support of policies and governments, as innovative partners that contribute to solve a huge challenge such as food waste.

Food Banks within the Food System play a crucial role in connecting the different actors.

Food Banks are like hubs that know the charities’ needs, the sources of food, where the food surplus is and they make all the different pieces of the puzzle come together to get this food where is needed.

Participants also discussed about the idea of having new technological model collaborating with start-ups to reinforce the network. FEBA is a big network with a lot of expertise and knowledge and these start-ups can support the developing of new models for logistic, to extend the life of products and providing new ways of accessing food.

The working table listed 3 recommendations for FEBA:

  1. Need of a continuous work at policy level with the EU and international institutions and also at national level underlining Food Banks’ importance in the food system transformation and the role they had during the crisis to have also a stronger voice with the private sectors and the food producers.
  2. Need to work collectively to engage businesses and develop partnerships. FEBA is an umbrella organisation and can open doors that probably an individual organisation cannot. Therefore, it is crucial to keep on with the dialogue between the FEBA network.
  3. Establish a FEBA Partnerships Working Group to support connection between Food Banks and all the external actors involved in these processes and share best practices on new models of food redistribution and the capacity building that Food Banks need.