Written Nutrition Guidelines, Client Choice Distribution, and Adequate Refrigerator Storage Are Positively Associated with Increased Offerings of Feeding America's Detailed Foods to Encourage (F2E) in a Large Sample of Arkansas Food Pantries

Christopher R. Long, Marie Rachelle Narcisse, Brett Rowland, Bonnie Faitak, Caitlin E. Caspi, Joel Gittelsohn, Pearl A. McElfish

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: Millions of food-insecure households in the United States obtain food from food pantries each year. These foods are often of insufficient nutritional quality. Objective: Our aim was to describe the frequency with which Arkansas food pantries offer foods included in Feeding America's Detailed Foods to Encourage (F2E) framework, and examine food pantry characteristics associated with increased frequency of offering F2E and other foods. Design: This was a 27-item cross-sectional online survey that assessed food pantries’ characteristics (eg, storage capacities, number of clients served) and typical food offerings. Participants/setting: Partnering with five of Arkansas's six food banks, 764 e-mail invitations were sent to food agency managers across the state. A final sample of 357 food pantries was included in the analyses. Main outcome measures: The primary outcomes of interest were the frequencies of offering specific F2E and F2E in general. The F2E framework was developed by Feeding America to more accurately assess food banks’ inventories, and its categories (Fruits and Vegetables; Protein; Dairy; and Grains) are generally consistent with MyPlate. Statistical analyses performed: Descriptive statistics were computed for all food pantry characteristics and frequency of foods offered. Associations between food pantry characteristics and the frequency of offering F2E were examined via multiple linear regression and path analysis. Results: Only 18.5% of food pantries had written nutrition guidelines, and only 19.3% offered client choice distribution. The F2E most commonly offered were meat/poultry/seafood without breading and not fried (59.6%) and peanut butter (58.2%). The least commonly offered F2E were nuts/seeds with nothing added (3.8%) and low-fat/1%/skim cheese (8.2%). Written nutrition guidelines (P<0.001), client choice distribution (P=0.003), and adequate refrigerator storage (P=0.010) were associated with more frequently offering F2E. Conclusions: This study fills a gap in knowledge by documenting food pantry characteristics that are associated with the frequencies of offering specific types of healthy foods.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)792-803.e5
JournalJournal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
Volume120
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2020

Keywords

  • Food bank
  • Food insecurity
  • Food pantry
  • Foods to Encourage
  • Fruits and vegetables

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Nutrition and Dietetics

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