Each year, about 20 percent of America’s food supply – 140 million tons of food valued at more than $31 billion – goes to waste. Food suppliers often wish to donate food, but the quantity or timing is beyond the capacity or need of any single organization. As a clearinghouse for donated food, the Food Bank of Siouxland forms a partnership with the food industry by collecting, inspecting, sorting,and distributing food to member agencies (food pantries), which provide food directly to those in need.
Most of the food comes from the food industry. Often, the reason is overproduction or inventory control. Other reasons include packaging errors, changes in product formulas, the expiration of coupons or approaching sell-by dates.
The United States Department of Agriculture donates commodities, while the public, through numerous community food drives, also donates food to the Food Bank of Siouxland.
Major companies, such as General Mills, Nabisco and Kraft, donate enormous quantities of food to Feeding America, the national network of food banks. The Food Bank of Siouxland’s link to that network is the Food Bank for the Heartland in Omaha, a member of Feeding America.
Other food comes from local retail organizations, such as Panera Bread, Target, Sam’s Club and Walmart. They donate perishable foods, including meat, produce, and bread. Food wholesalers, such as Tyson, Interbake Foods, Wells Dairy, and Palmer Candy Company, as well as other local food companies, donate surplus inventories.