Data for Good: FFEN's Food Sourcing Analysis

One portion of FFEN’s Food Sourcing Analysis Report includes a graph that shows the dollars spent and pounds sourced by specific categories. Retail food rescue pounds picked up from local grocery stores are separated out from pounds and cost of food ordered from their regional food bank or other sources.

As a part of our on-going commitment to hunger-relief in Minnesota, the Foundation For Essential Needs connects local organizations to a number of resources they need to grow and thrive amidst changing conditions and an increased demand for services. FFEN provides access to donor funding and equipment, in addition to the expertise of its own board members and staff, but increasingly, its assistance includes important information resources as well. FFEN's Food Sourcing Analysis (FSA) is a powerful instrument that uses data-driven analytics to give individual food shelves the clearest possible picture of their own operations, while

providing insight into the most important factors to their growth and sustainability.

The FSA presents a food shelf's historical ordering data in a series of easy-to-read graphics

and allows food shelf leaders to directly compare the cost of specific goods to their

importance to their clients. This often allows food shelves to lower costs while increasing

access to important and in-demand items such as fresh produce and other staples. Even

more fundamentally, the FSA provides essential information for organizations hoping to

understand their current operational capacity in relation to the kinds of growth necessary

to meet future needs. The Thief River Falls Area Food Shelf recently went through a period of transition, working

with SuperShelf to transform their operations and increase the value of their services to

their clients. FFEN provided a FSA report to support this change, allowing stakeholders to

make well-informed decisions and maximize the impact of their contributions.

Food Shelf board member Frances Tougas shared that the FSA reports her organization

received “were extremely enlightening and very helpful when working with our volunteers

and board.” She says the reports “really brought to light some of the purchasing practices

we could change to move toward SuperShelf as well as a lot of really good purchasing

practices we were already doing.”