Nutrition Status of Those Receiving Unprepared Food from Food Banks: Overview of Food Bank Users in High-Income Countries and Their Diet

  • Nanette Stroebele-Benschop
  • Anja Simmet
  • Julia Depa
Living reference work entry


Across all countries, the number of food bank users in high-income countries has increased considerably over the years. More and more people appear to depend on the distribution of food donations. Besides being considered economically disadvantaged, the group of food bank users can be described as diverse in terms of educational background, age, gender, and ethnicity. However, mental or physical disabilities, job loss or working poor, living in a large household, an increase in housing costs, living in a nonmetropolitan area, and/or food insecurity are all main reasons for using food banks. While the types of foods offered by food banks vary substantially across countries, the energy of the provided food seems to meet or exceed nutritional guidelines. Nevertheless, often the provided foods lack vitamins and minerals and despite the small number of existing studies, it seems that food bank users do not consume milk and milk products, fruits, and vegetables in sufficient amounts. In the future, the dietary needs of people in need should be considered without jeopardizing the amount of donated food.


Food banks Food pantries Food bank users Diet quality Dietary status Micronutrient intake Macronutrient intake Economically disadvantaged populations Donations Food groups Food types 

List of Abbreviations


European Federation of Food Banks


Global Food Banking Network


United States


United States of America


United Kingdom


World Health Organization


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nanette Stroebele-Benschop
    • 1
  • Anja Simmet
    • 1
  • Julia Depa
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Nutritional Psychology, Institute of Nutritional MedicineUniversity of HohenheimStuttgartGermany

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