Leading Research and Policy Recommendations

Our research informs decision makers and demonstrates the central role food banks play in creating lasting food systems change.

Data drives our work.

We conduct research to help member food banks thrive, to measure the effectiveness of food banking and new interventions, and to meaningfully contribute to important global conversations about hunger, food loss and waste, and other critical areas.

Ultimately, our evidence-based approach contributes to hunger alleviation and climate change mitigation by providing expertise, directing resources, sharing knowledge, and developing connections.

Our research function supports, promotes, and grows food banks, which are a wonderfully unique food security intervention.
Halley Aldeen, Director, Measurement & Research

GFN research is used to:

  • Track food banking globally as well as its contributions to the SDGs
  • Measure the efficiency and effectiveness of food banks and their contributions to their communities
  • Support Network members in their growth and development
  • Guide GFN’s data-driven decision-making
  • Advocate—and support Network members’ advocacy efforts—for system-wide changes that address the root causes of hunger, poverty, and food loss and waste

GFN’s research priorities are:

The Effectiveness of the Food Bank Model

Food banking isn’t a “one size fits all” approach, and GFN research tracks the scope, breadth, and reach of food banking worldwide and measures its impact beyond hunger alleviation. Our research explores the diversity in food banking programs and the role of food banks in building stronger, healthier, more equitable communities.

Explore this research:

Policy Research & Recommendations

GFN’s policy research creates recommendations that lead to wider food access and fewer instances of food loss and waste. A key partner in this work is the Harvard University School of Law Food Law and Policy Clinic. Together, we have developed the Global Food Donation Policy Atlas, which chronicles barriers to food donation worldwide and recommends solutions that reduce those barriers.

Explore the Global Food Donation Policy Atlas:

Food Bank Surveys

In addition to global research and recommendations, GFN conducts Network research to understand, inform, and improve food bank operations. This helps scale and accelerate food bank development and also informs GFN’s technical assistance to food banks and outreach to partners.

Our surveys cover a range of topics, including:

  • Network activity reports
    • This annual survey provides a comprehensive look at the accomplishments of member food banks, including people served, food and grocery product distributed, and the scope and reach of partner organizations. The results inform all of the work we do, including grantmaking, technical assistance, fundraising, and building public awareness.
  • Pulse surveys
    • Pulse surveys are conducted regularly to track the changing needs that member food banks are observing in their communities.
  • Member satisfaction
    • These annual surveys collect anonymous feedback from food bank executive directors on the quality and efficacy of GFN’s services. The surveys guide GFN’s strategic priorities as they relate to member food banks.

The Global Food Donation Policy Atlas—a unique, innovative partnership


The Global Food Donation Policy Atlas is the first collaborative research project to examine the state of worldwide food donation laws and policies and provide country-specific policy recommendations for strengthening food recovery efforts. This research is coupled with technical assistance for GFN members that helps food banks advocate for stronger donation policies in their home country. The Atlas is a partnership between Harvard Law School’s Food Law and Policy Clinic and The Global FoodBanking Network.  


Explore the Atlas

Visit Our Resource Center to Learn More About GFN’s Research