The world’s first Food Bank was founded in 1967 in Phoenix, Arizona. John van Hengel, usually known as the "Father of Food Banking", was volunteering in a soup kitchen, when a mother with 10 children gave him the idea of a place where surplus food could be stored and made available to the poor.
Then Food Banks developed in Canada and Europe, and today they operate worldwide.
The Fondazione Banco Alimentare Onlus was established in Italy in 1989 and since 1990 it has been a member of the European Federation of Food Banks. With the help of a network of 21 Food Banks across the country, we recover and distribute surplus food from the food chain to 8,669 charitable organizations that help 1,909,986 poor every year, work to raise awareness about food waste and food poverty, and advocate for policies that sustain food poverty. Our daily activity contributes to food security but also improves the sustainability of food systems and reduces the impact of food waste on the environment.
Fondazione Banco Alimentare ONLUS - ItalyLead applicant
Since 1989 the Fondazione Banco Alimentare ONLUS has been recovering surplus food from the food supply chain, and by means of its network of 21 Food Banks spree all over the country, it has been redistributing it to 8,898 charitable organizations that assist almost 2 million poor people in Italy. The Food Bank Network recovers food products which are still perfectly edible but, having lost their commercial value, would be destined to destruction. These food products are saved from waste, recover their value and become a richness for the poor. The main supplying sources of the Food Bank Network are: food industry, organized large-scale retail trade, and food service sector. The activity of the Food Bank Network is possible also thanks to the daily work of over 1,700 volunteers. The Food Bank works 365 days a year. In 2013 we distributed 62,826 tons of food products.
Intesa Sanpaolo - ItalyInitiative partner
Intesa Sanpaolo is the banking group which was formed by the merger of Banca Intesa and Sanpaolo IMI. The merger brought together two major Italian banks with shared values so as to increase their opportunities for growth, enhance service for retail customers, significantly support the development of businesses and make an important contribution to the country's growth. Intesa Sanpaolo is among the top banking groups in the euro zone, with a market capitalisation of 39.3 billion euro(1). Intesa Sanpaolo is the leader in Italy in all business areas (retail, corporate, and wealth management). The Group offers its services to 11.1 million customers through a network of over 4,500 branches well distributed throughout the country with market shares no lower than 13% in most Italian regions. Intesa Sanpaolo has a selected presence in Central Eastern Europe and Middle Eastern and North African areas with over 1,400 branches and 8.4 million customers belonging to the Group's subsidiaries operating in retail and commercial banking in 12 countries. Moreover, an international network of specialists in support of corporate customers spreads across 29 countries, in particular in the Middle East and North Africa and in those areas where Italian companies are most active, such as the United States, Russia, China and India.
National Federation of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul National Council of Italian - ItalyInitiative partner
The Society of St. Vincent de Paul is a Catholic but secular association, which generally operates in parishes. The main aim is to help disadvantaged people: the poor, the sick, the stranger, the former prisoners, elderly people living alone, helping them both in terms of material-financial and moral-cultural assistance. It does not deal only with the payment of bills and the provision of food parcels, but tries to understand the causes of poverty and to combat them. In several cities it also manages canteens, dormitories and shelters. Finally, it also takes care of prisoners and promotes partnerships with developing countries. In Italy the Society of St. Vincent de Paul has about 13,000 members throughout the country. It operates in almost all countries of the world.
Milano Ristorazione S.p.A. - ItalyInitiative partner
Milano Ristorazione S.p.A. was established in July 2000 by resolution of the Council of the Municipality of Milan; from 1 January 2001 it has managed the food service for schools. Milano Ristorazione S.p.A. is wholly owned by the Municipality of Milan: 99% of the assets are directly owned by the Municipality of Milan and about 1% by Milano Ristorazione S.p.A. Milano Ristorazione S.p.A. manages the school meals service for preschools, primary and secondary schools, and nursery schools in the Municipality of Milan and prepares meals for elderly nursing homes, elderly at home, disability centers, immigration centers and affiliated private schools. 26 centers and 75 kitchens in the nursery schools in the area of Milan daily prepare about 80,000 meals thanks to 951 employees. The mission of Milano Ristorazione S.p.A aims to offer children a “healthy, good, educational and fair” meal, which takes care first of all of hygienic and nutritional quality, but also the sensory and cultural quality in order to stimulate the attention of young consumers to the experience of taste. The school canteen becomes a “restaurant” dedicated to children, which enhances food and promotes a proper nutrition education, training in a pleasant and educational way in order to grow our children in a healthy and conscious way.
METRO Cash and Carry Italy - ItalyInitiative partner
METRO Cash & Carry is the leading international player in the self-service wholesale sector. Under the brands METRO and MAKRO it operates over 750 wholesale stores in 28 countries throughout Europe and Asia. The wholesale stores offer a broad range of products and services customised to the specific demands of professional customers, such as hotel and restaurant operators, catering firms, independent small retailers, institutions and offices.
Finmeccanica S.p.A. - ItalyInitiative partner
Finmeccanica is Italy's main industrial group, leader in the high technology sector, and ranks among the top ten defence groups worldwide. It operates in the Aerospace, Defence and Security sectors. Listed on the Milan Stock Exchange (FNC IM; SIFI.MI), Finmeccanica is an international and multicultural Group with a significant presence in four home markets: Italy, United Kingdom, United States and Poland. Finmeccanica’s success is based on technological excellence, originated from its significant investment in Research & Development: more than 11% of revenues is devoted to R&D; more than 4,000 employees are employed in R&D; and approximately 14,000 engineers are specifically dedicated to design activities. Finmeccanica has a strong international dimension, and boasts a significant position in the following areas of business: Helicopters, Defence & Security Electronics, Aeronautics, Space, Defence System and Transportation. Furthermore, Finmeccanica is active in the field of industrial plant engineering and construction through Fata. 63.835 employees in the World.
Alliance Against Hunger and Malnutrition - ItalyInitiative partner
The Italian Alliance Against Hunger and Malnutrition, through its network of organizations and institutions, aims to advocating for the right to food for all, increasing the visibility of small agricultural producers and improving their living conditions, promoting a food education with particular emphasis on healthy nutrition and fight against malnutrition, fostering the recovery of surplus food products and supporting the the female role in the field of nutrition. The Italian Alliance Against Hunger and Malnutrition aims to establishing and advocating the right to food with public institutions and the private sector in order to support initiatives in favour of the identified objectives.
National Union of producer organisations in the Fruit, vegetables, citrus and nuts sector, consortium company r.l. - ItalyInitiative partner
UNAPROA’s core objective is to aide its members in improving and enhancing the production of fruit and vegetables in Italy, and help members adapt to a market’s evolving demands, through the use of supply efficiencies, the reduction of production costs, and price regulations. The organisation also promotes the operation of farming practices, and the waste production and management methods that protect the environment and support biodiversity. UNAPROA represents an instrument to help manage market crisis and carries out actions in support of the business activities of its members. It provides services for the promotion of products and projects of common interest to its members, in order to improve their effectiveness. UNAPROA collaborates with the European Union; the Italian Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Forestry; each of Italy’s regions and autonomous provinces; as well as with the Italian Agencies, responsible for dispensing public payments for agriculture, for the definition of guidelines on fruit and vegetables, for policy intervention, and for the functional organisation of the supply chain.
Sacro Cuore Catholic University - ItalyInitiative partner
ExpoLAB is a multidisciplinary Centre of Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, acting on the theme “Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life” of Expo 2015. ExpoLAB promotes, coordinates and conducts the scientific activities of Università Cattolica on the themes of the upcoming Universal Exposition, with a scientific and multidisciplinary approach. The Institute of Microbiology of the Faculty of Agricultural, Food and Environmental Sciences, has a long and well documented experience in research related to food microbiology and to the molecular biology of microorganisms. The researcher’s competences focus particularly on genetic, food and environmental microbiology. Molecular methods have been developed to study the complex relationships among bacterial communities and new next generation techniques DNA-based are applied to study bacterial responses to environmental signals.The members of the institute have also experience in risk assessment of microorganisms, with particular attention to those related to the food chains.
Nestlé Italiana S.p.A. - ItalyInitiative partner
The Nestlé Group is the world’s largest food company with units in more than 140 countries producing over 10,000 products, fruit of tradition and the world’s most advanced nutritional research. Nestlé Group has been present in Italy since 1875. It has some 5,500 employees distributed among 16 plants (in addition to the Group HQ in Assago). It currently operates through a number of entities: Nestlé Italiana, Sanpellegrino, Purina, Nespresso Nestlé Nutrition, Nestlé Health Science, Nestlé Professional e CPW.
Barilla G&R F.lli - ItalyInitiative partner
Barilla, originally established in 1877 as a bread and pasta shop in Parma, Italy, ranks as one of today’s top Italian food groups. Barilla leads in the global pasta business, the pasta sauces business in continental Europe, the bakery products business in Italy and the crispbread business in Scandinavia. Barilla owns 30 production sites (14 in Italy and 16 outside Italy) and exports to more than 100 countries. Every year, about 1,700,000 tons of food products under the brands of Barilla, Mulino Bianco, Voiello, Pavesi, Academia Barilla, Wasa, Harrys (France and Russia), Misko (Greece), Filiz (Turkey), Yemina and Vesta (Mexico), are featured on dining tables all over the world. Barilla has become one of the world’s most esteemed food companies and is recognized worldwide as a symbol of Italian know-how by respecting its longstanding traditional principles and values, considering employees a fundamental asset and developing leading-edge production systems.
Department of Statistics and Quantitative Methods, University of Milan-Bicocca - ItalyInitiative partner
The main mission of the Department of Statistics and Quantitative Methods consists in contributing to the training of professionals and the production of knowledge and evidence in the areas of competence. This activity concerns both methodological aspects of the disciplines (statistics, mathematics and IT, languages) and applied aspects, with particular reference to the fields of population and society, public health, welfare, finance and markets. The Department also develops activities that enhance its local presence through a network of services/research useful for the development and welfare of citizens.
Politecnico of Milano - ItalyInitiative partner
Politecnico of Milano is a scientific-technological university which trains engineers, architects and industrial designers. The University has always focused on the quality and innovation of its teaching and research, developing a fruitful relationship with business and productive world by means of experimental research and technological transfer.
The Global FoodBanking Network - United StatesInitiative partner
GFN is dedicated to helping existing food bank systems broaden their operations, increase impact, and deliver more food to more hungry people. GFN is involved in a number of projects aimed at creating food banks where they do not exist. GFN continues to provide training, technical assistance and introductions to potential global resource providers. Educating the public about global hunger and food waste and how food banking helps alleviate these interrelated problems helps GFN advance the cause of global food banking. GFN developed stronger relationships with many major multinational food and grocery companies and established relationships with some ingredients companies. We continue to provide technical assistance to member food banks to facilitate increased food donations and make introductions between food banks and corporate contacts at a local level.
European Federation of Food Banks - FranceInitiative partner
Founded in 1986, the European Federation of Food Banks (FEBA) brings together 256 Food Banks in Europe, which daily fight against hunger and food waste. The Food Banks recover surplus food from the food industry and retail stores, European and National food aid programs or from individuals, and redistribute it to charitable organisations and social services which support the most deprived in Europe. In 2013 Food Banks belonging to the FEBA recovered 402,000 tons of food, equivalent to 804 million meals, that were distributed to 5,7 million people in partnership with 31,000 charitable organisations and social centres in Europe.
Food Banks fight against food waste to feed the most deprived. Every day, even today.
Over years Food Banks have developed an innovative solution to complementary needs: the generation of surplus food by the food chain and food aid for charitable organizations.
Food Banks represent a genial idea which has acquired form and structure over time: a new operational and win-win approach that involves public institutions, the profit and non-profit sectors. The recognition of the social value of Food Banks has led to innovation in the sector of management and logistics, has developed relations with the public and private sectors and has influenced legislation both at supranational and national level (2011, report of the European Parliament for promoting strategies to avoid food wastage; 1996, Good Samaritan Act in the USA; 2003, Law No. 155/2003 in Italy).
In 2003 these innovations have led the FBAO to develop the Siticibo programme: the first initiative in Europe for the recovery of fresh and cooked food in the catering and then in the distribution sectors.
Food Banks operate within the paradox of abundance and scarcity: in the world there are sufficient quantities of food to feed everyone but nearly 805 million people suffer from chronic undernourishment and roughly one third of the food produced every year (1,3 billion tonnes) gets lost or wasted.
Surplus food, meaning edible food products that are not purchased or consumed by people, is generated for many reasons in the different stages of the food supply chain. The phenomenon of surplus food becoming waste represents a missed opportunity to improve food security especially in the current period of crisis.
The Italian Food Bank Network operates in a context of food emergency with 6 million poor and 6 million tons of surplus food generated from the whole food supply chain.
In 2014 the Food Bank Network donated food products to 8,669 charitable organizations which assisted 1,909,986 deprived people in the country.
Hunger exists everywhere: public and private authorities, charitable organizations and individuals can play a role in improving food security.
In 2013, Feeding America provided 3,2 billion meals to people in need (+22%), while Food Banks belonging to the European Federation of Food Banks distributed 402,000 tons of food, equivalent to 804 million meals, to 5,7 million people in partnership with 31,000 charitable organisations and social services.
In Italy in 2014 the Food Bank Network recovered 40,767 tons of edible surplus food and 1,043,351 portions of meals. The Food Bank Network has partnerships with 955 food companies, 820 retails, 158 company canteens and 208 school canteens. In addition, 14,965 tons of food products were collected during the National Food Collection Day (last Saturday of November) and during other food collections in companies. Surplus food was then redistributed to 8,669 charitable organizations that assisted 1,909,986 of deprived people in Italy.
Since the economic crisis of 2008, the situation of food poverty has changed both in terms of numbers and typology.
The number of Italians living in absolute and relative poverty soared in 2013: about 6,2 million people (9.9% of the population) are grappling with absolute poverty, meaning they are unable to afford the minimum acceptable living standard (ISTAT 2013). As a consequence, the requests for assistance to the Food Bank Network increased in 2014: 8,669 charitable organizations that help 1,909,986 people in need. In turn, charitable organizations reported an increase of requests for financial subsidies and material goods or services. The demand for food was the most frequent.
The Food Bank Network serves different charitable organizations: soup kitchens, foster homes, shelters for children, drug addicts, unmarried women, parish associations (Caritas, St. Vincent de Paul, etc.), religious communities and other organizations helping the needy.
The daily activity of the Food Bank Network to recover surplus food and distribute it to the most deprived is possible thanks to 116 employees and depends on the volunteer work of 1,869 individuals who wish to donate their free time. 80% of volunteers are male, of which 60% are retired. 35% of volunteers dedicate ½ day per week to the activity of the Food Bank Network, while 20% a full day and 20% two days per week. More than 50% of volunteers are involved in the sorting and repackaging of food products, in the conduct of vehicles, and relations with charitable organizations and authorities. It is estimated that the contribution given by volunteers may correspond to the work of approximately 200 employees.
The National Food Collection Day involves regional and provincial managers who prepare and manage it starting 5 months before, while 135,000 people participate as volunteers dedicating their time on the last Saturday of November:
Food Banks have always faced external and internal obstacles.
On the one hand sometimes the extrenal framework does not seem to incentivise food surplus donation as food donors are wary of jeopardising their brand image, they are not willing to take the risk of liability for the donated foods, and there are not fiscal incentives that promote food donation instead of other uses.
On the other hand Food Banks are also facing internal obstacles, in particular linked to issues such as economic sustainability, the official recognition of the activities carried out by public institutions and difficulties linked to communication.
Food Banks have always faced and are still facing these barriers and trying to solve them with a simple method: a constructive collaboration both with the food supply chain and public authorities at European, national and regional level, and a wide and diversified strategy for communicating its mission.
Food Banks contribute to preserve the environment and to use the Earth's limited resources in a sustainable way.
Environmental savings and protection of natural resources (water, air, soil, animals and natural habitats). Food Banks optimize the value of surplus food produced by the food supply chain, with a subsequent saving of resources; the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions; and the preservation of natural habitats and of animal protected species.
Reduction of food waste. The recovery of surplus food renew the economic value of food and food donors can reduce storage and disposal fees and put products to good use instead of to waste contributing to the common good of society. Moreover, food discarded in landfills immediately begins to produce methane gas, a greenhouse gas with over 20 times the heat-trapping capacity of carbon dioxide. Greenhouse gas damages our water supply, land, air and ultimately harms this and future generations.
The concept of food banking is unique: an original formula which adapts itself to different contexts but at the same time it is immediately identifiable as arising from the same dynamic.
In 1967 John Van Hengel created the first «food bank» in Phoenix, Arizona (USA). the Food Bank of Paris-Ile de France was launched in July 1984; the Food Bank in Brussels was established in 1985 and the European Federation of Food Banks was launched on September 23, 1986.
Since then the FEBA has supported the development of Food Banks in many European countries and in 2011 celebrated its 25th anniversary of its creation.
Following the same method, the concept of food banking has expanded worldwide: the Global FoodBanking Network (GFN) is promoting the development of Food Banks on a global scale. Finally, the concept of food banking applies also to different areas: Banco Building, Banco Farmaceutico and Banco Informatico, Tecnologico e Biomedico.
When the Fondazione Banco Alimentare Onlus was established in 1989, communication used to be spread passing the word among businesses, organizations and volunteers.
After a few years, a step forward led to the introduction of a more timely and accurate written communication: flyers, leaflets and posters. From then on it has been a progress: communication initiatives have become increasingly important on a national scale.
We landed on the Italian TV with free spots thanks to the first edition of the National Food Collection Day in 1997; then we started to use the web.
Today we exploit all these different channels to tell who we are and what we do. The Web 2.0 and all the social media networks have further developed our communication, giving us the great opportunity of a daily communication, exchange, and dialogue with all our stakeholders.