Working Table 3

Rethinking the Foodbanking Narrative


Vivienne Lawlor
Head of Communications, FoodCloud

The Working Group’s participants were a mix between Food Banks and external participants and this mix brought great engagement and insights that opened up interesting discussions. 

The Working Table started by describing the current context of COVID-19 that very much impacted the food redistribution organisations and the communities. Food Banks have been seen as front-line heroes of the pandemic, there are images all over the world of masked volunteers in warehouses highlighting the passion and the commitment in supporting communities. The discussion explored what has been the impact of COVID-19 on the Foodbanking Narrative and how Food Banks position themselves in the hearts and minds of the stakeholders such as partners, supporters, volunteers and the teams. 

There has been an awareness-driven around the twin issues of food waste and food insecurity, but it is important to reframe the narrative of who Food Banks are and what they do. Does the narrative in the media reflect the organisations where Food Bankers operate? Does it tell the story of the ambition, passion, motivation, entrepreneurship, innovation and the impact Food Banks are having on both people and on the planet.

The role of this workshop was to kick start the discussion whether there is a need to refresh the narrative and the position of the Food Banks and to list recommendations for FEBA. 

Food Banks are indeed seen as food package providers to feed the poor, to support charities, volunteers at the door of the supermarkets etc. But how would Food Banks like to be seen in the future? 

There is a new role for Food Banks as very important actors in the food system that can work towards a more sustainable future.

It is a very complex environment where building awareness and a common understanding is  key. Confusion or mixed messaging can be damaging and limiting to future growth. 

Food Banks are not the producers or the users – Food Banks are the dotted line that connect the needs. This connection of need is something really powerful to communicate. 

The bigger role of FEBA is to continue the discussion on this topic as an opportunity to look at branding and repositioning in the hearts and minds of the stakeholders and looking at having a shared language.

Food Banks need to reframe the narrative to improve understanding and build broad-based support.

Time is right to reframe and reshape Food Banks’ position and it is time to go!