The operation of a Food Bank

Food Banks depend on donation and sharing of food.

Food Banks receive surplus food and/or donations from the following sectors:

  • Agriculture
  • Food processing and manufacturing and distribution
  • Hospitality (Hotels – Restaurants – Canteens)
  • Public participation through special collections in supermarkets, schools, etc.
  • International, EU and/or national food aid programmes like FEAD

Rescued or surplus food must be free of charge and safe. [1]

Food obtained from the production chain is usually products with a short shelf life, non-commercial items, incorrectly packaged, the value and nutritional quality of which are beyond question.

In 2022, the European Food Banks Federation (FEBA) worked in collaboration with 23 Full Members and 7 Associate Members in 30 European countries.

In 2022 Network of European Food Banks redistributed 876,316 tonnes of food in in cooperation with 44 884 charitable organisations and bringing help to 12,4 mln  most deprived people. [1]

Food Banks are non-profit organizations, and their operating model may vary from country to country. The food collected or received from the previously mentioned places is transported, stored and forwarded to the network of charitable organizations with which they cooperate. [1]

Food Banks represent a bridge between surplus food and supporting individuals in need. Should Food Banks supply a network of independent charities, an agreement for the purpose of food donation to charities is entered into by each Food Bank and the charitable organizations members of its distribution network. [1]

Food aid is made available to people in need by charities for example in the form of:

  • meals in “welfare/social restaurants’’,
  • meals known as “soup kitchens” at defined distribution centers,
  • food parcels.

In some countries such as Estonia, Germany and the Netherlands, FEBA Members redistribute food not only to other charitable organisations but also provide food directly to end beneficiaries. [1]