The Nutritional Quality of Food Parcels Provided by Foodbanks and the Effectiveness of Foodbanks at Reducing Food Insecurity in Developed Countries: A Mixed‐Method Systematic Review\

Lucy Oldroyd, Fatemeh Eskandari, Charlotte Pratt, Amelia Lake

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: Research indicates that food parcels provided by foodbanks are nutritionally-poor. Food insecurity and foodbank use are rising, with detrimental effects on the dietary intake and health of users. This mixed-method systematic review aims to investigate the current nutritional adequacy of pre-packaged food parcels and whether using foodbanks reduces the food insecurity and improves the dietary intake of their users.

Methodology: A mixed-method systematic literature review, restricted to articles published from 2015, was conducted using 8 electronic databases, 4 grey literature databases and 8 relevant websites. Quantitative findings, investigating the nutritional quality of food parcels and/or their impact on dietary intake or food insecurity, were presented narratively. Qualitative findings, reporting views of foodbank users regarding foodbank food, underwent thematic synthesis. These independent syntheses were integrated using configurative analysis and presented narratively.

Results: Of 2,189 articles, 11 quantitative and 10 qualitative were included. Food parcels were inconsistent at meeting nutritional requirements and often failed to meet individual needs, including cultural and health preferences. Using foodbanks improved food security and dietary quality of users, allowing otherwise unachievable access to food. However, food insecurity remained, explained by limited food variety, quality and choice. The mixed-method findings support interventions to ensure consistent, adequate nutrition at foodbanks, including catering for individual needs.

Conclusions: Foodbanks are a lifeline when severely food insecure. However alone, foodbanks struggle to eliminate the heightened food insecurity of their users. Efforts to improve the nutritional quality of food parcels could improve the experiences and diet-related outcomes of those requiring foodbanks.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics
Early online date3 Feb 2022
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 3 Feb 2022

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'The Nutritional Quality of Food Parcels Provided by Foodbanks and the Effectiveness of Foodbanks at Reducing Food Insecurity in Developed Countries: A Mixed‐Method Systematic Review\'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this