The Evolution of FFEN's Food Sourcing Analysis

Updated: Sep 15, 2020

A segment of the Food Sourcing Analysis Report
Closer view of the product mix across multiple sites

FFEN's Food Sourcing Analysis (FSA) Report is a critical service that we provide to our food shelf partners. It breaks down a food shelf's ordering history into a series of information-rich but easy-to-read graphics. The graphics highlight the balance of cost per household served with the product mix and quantity provideda balance between efficient and effective service to the community. The FSA Report shines a light on the actual cost per benefit of a food shelf's day-to-day operations and reveals possible improvements.

This knowledge is more valuable than ever, as food shelves adapt to the changing conditions of the COVID-19 pandemic. Food shelves need a clear picture of their operations as they plan their immediate response and work toward community recovery. That is why FFEN continues to invest in and develop this important tool even as our staff and volunteers work from home and meet remotely.

An excerpt from a Food Sourcing Analysis
Variation between cost and pounds at different sites

The FSA was first developed by FFEN volunteer Dianne DeJolsvay and Board Members Sue Gillman and Carolyn Kohrs. They realized they could display all of the material information they were getting from food shelves in a more digestible format that could help food shelf leaders identify their next steps and opportunities. They poured over invoices and created spreadsheets that allowed food shelf leaders to draw conclusions from the data.

FSA Volunteers at work
Data Analysis Task Force: Ben, Dianne, Betsy, AG

The FSA Report has been in continuous development ever since, informed by food shelf feedback as well as the expanding team of Data Analysis volunteers creating them. Colorful infographics have replaced spreadsheets and sector-wide data is now included for comparison. The evolution of this work has been led by a volunteer task force of data professionals who have been able to refine and streamline processes, identify new areas of analysis, and add value to the information going back to food shelves. With their expertise, we've been able to increase the quality and quantity of our reporting ability, allowing us to help more food shelves. This expansion has cemented the FSA Report as a centerpiece of our collaboration with food shelves.

Our volunteers share our belief that data analytics can make a huge difference in the field of hunger relief, improving operations and creating better outcomes for clients.

“Data has the power to inform decisions at all levels in organizations,” said task force volunteer Benjamin Lee. “It has optimized supply chains in the private sector, showing that there is an opportunity to reduce waste and improve efficiency.”

Ben training new volunteers on FFEN's FSA Process

Ben comes from a healthcare background and shared how that context informs his work.

“When a household is food insecure it has downstream effects on their health. If we can tackle food insecurity, we can improve health outcomes.”

Ben’s insight has taken on extra significance in these difficult times. As we strive to tackle the challenges ahead, we are reminded that our personal health is inextricable from the health of our communities. FFEN’s FSA Report is a truly unique way that we are helping to increase healthy food access through data-informed decision-making within the hunger relief sector.

Your donations make this continued work possible during this critical time! Thank you.

Learn more about FFEN’s mission.