Community Food Services

Industry Profile Report

Dive Deep into the industry with a 25+ page industry report (pdf format) including the following chapters

Industry Overview Current Conditions, Industry Structure, How Firms Operate, Industry Trends, Credit Underwriting & Risks, and Industry Forecast.

Call Preparation Call Prep Questions, Industry Terms, and Weblinks.

Financial Insights Working Capital, Capital Financing, Business Valuation, and Financial Benchmarks.

Industry Profile Excerpts

Industry Overview

The 3,600 community food services in the US collect, prepare, and deliver food for the needy. They include food banks, meal delivery programs, and soup kitchens. Food banks collect and distribute salvageable or donated food to individuals through other social service organizations. Meal delivery programs prepare and deliver meals to persons unable to prepare meals for themselves due to age, disability or illness. Soup kitchens prepare and serve meals at fixed or mobile locations.

Demand and Donations Dependent on Economic Conditions

Demand for community food services rises when the economy is weak and unemployment rises.

Dependence on Volunteers

Community food services are highly dependent on volunteers for many staff positions and for carrying out their work.

Industry size & Structure

The average community food service operates 1 or 2 locations, has 11-12 employees, and generates $3-4 million in annual revenue.

    • There are about 3,600 community food service organizations in the US employing 42,900 workers and generating $20.9 billion in annual revenue.
    • Nearly all community food services focus on the needs of a local market. However, they may belong to regional or national networks of food banks.
    • The largest national food bank network is Feeding America, with over 200 members.
    • In addition to dedicated community food service organizations, the US also has tens of thousands of food pantries operated by churches and other religious organizations to deliver food staples to the needy.
    • An estimated 10.2% of American households were food insecure at least some time during the year in 2021, meaning they lacked access to enough food for an active, healthy life for all household members.
                                  Industry Forecast
                                  Community Food Services Industry Growth
                                  Source: Vertical IQ and Inforum

                                  Recent Developments

                                  Nov 15, 2023 - Personal Income Increase may Reduce Demand
                                  • Personal income, an indicator of demand for community food services, increased moderately in the first half of 2023. Demand for community food services is likely to decrease as personal income increases. Industry employment increased moderately during the first eight months of 2023 while wages for nonsupervisory employees increased slightly.
                                  • Household food security in the US increased 31% for all individuals and 44% among children in 2022, according to the US Department of Agriculture (USDA). Some 44 million Americans, including 13 million children, experienced food insecurity in 2022. Nearly 4 in 10 people say they don’t have enough cash to cover a $400 emergency and missing one paycheck could mean they cannot cover the cost of food and household expenses without going into debt, according to the USDA.
                                  • More low-income Americans are now required to work in order to receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits. Able-bodied adults from 18 to 50 years old who don't have kids must show proof they are working at least 80 hours a month or enrolled in an education or training program to receive SNAP. That age requirement will increase to 52 years old on October 1. Homeless people, veterans, and adults 18 to 24 years old who aged out of foster care are exempt from the new requirements. About 750,000 adults could lose their benefits, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.
                                  • Last year was one of the worst years in philanthropy history, according to the Giving USA Annual Report on Philanthropy. Total giving decreased 3.4% in 2022 to $499.3 billion in current dollars, a drop of 10.5% when adjusted for inflation, marking only the fourth time that donations have fallen since Giving USA started keeping track in 1956. The decrease followed two record-setting years for charitable giving, driven by the unprecedented need created by the COVID-19 pandemic, said Una Osili, associate dean for research and international programs at the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at Indiana University and the Giving USA report’s lead researcher. Osili also noted a change in giving patterns. “At the beginning of the 21st century, two thirds of Americans gave,” Osili said. “Today, that is down to under 50% for the first time. So giving has grown, but fewer people are participating.”
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