Our Nutrition Policy

Food Bank of Central New York is proud to have been at the forefront of helping to develop a nutrition framework for Feeding America's nationwide network of food banks. Our nutrition policy was one of the first to eliminate foods that are high in calories and low in nutrient density from our donated food stream.

With concerns about rising rates of obesity, food banks are increasingly aware of the need to improve the nutritional quality of charitable food.

Although it affects all socioeconomic levels, obesity rates are most prevalent among the lower-income population [i]. During the emergence of the obesity epidemic, observers noted that many who were overweight were also undernourished and food insecure, a phenomenon that became known as the “hunger-obesity paradox” [ii]. Hunger and obesity seem to coexist, yet the causes and mechanisms for this association are still poorly understood.

Today many food banks approach their mission of ending hunger not only by providing food but also by helping to provide low-income households with the opportunity to pursue physically, financially, and emotionally healthy lives. This more holistic approach has led to an increased focus on the quality and quantity of foods provided through the system. The foods distributed are intended to contribute to the good health of recipients.

Food Bank of Central New York operates under the following nutrition policy:

As an organization supplying foods to low-income families and in accordance with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, Food Bank of Central New York emphasizes foods that promote and protect healthy living and decrease diet related diseases.

Additionally, the Food Bank has committed to eliminating foods that are high in calories and low in nutrient density from our donated food stream. Specifically candy, soda, and energy drinks have been targeted for their exceptionally high sugar content and role in displacing nutrient dense food. In particular, soda and candy contribute no substantive nutrition and do not promote the nature of our work, which is to feed those who are hungry. In addition, over consumption of these particular items may contribute to diet-related health complications.

Lastly, the Food Bank is not implying that there is no room for these items in a well-balanced diet, rather that there seems to be no indication that there is a lack of access to these items by our client base. Therefore, our efforts will continue to focus on procuring products that contribute greater nutritional value and those that are clearly more difficult to access.

For further research, please refer to the following local and national resources:

Feeding America "Foods to Encourage"

Nutrition Focused Food Banking discussion paper, April 2, 2015

[i] Flegal, K., M. Carroll, B. Kit, and C. Ogden. 2012. Prevalence of obesity and trends in the distribution of body mass index among US adults, 1999–2010. Journal of the American Medical Association 307(5):491–497.

[ii]Gooding, H., C. Walls, and T. Richmond. 2012. Food insecurity and increased BMI in young adult women. Obesity (Silver Spring) 20(9):1896–1901.