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 10.5% of American households were food insecure at least some time during the year in 2020, 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

                                  May 6, 2023 - Maine Proposal Would Partially Restore SNAP Benefit Expansion
                                  • Legislation introduced in Maine would partially restore an expansion of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits for another six months, with the benefits gradually decreasing over time. The US Congress increased SNAP benefits through emergency allotments in 2020 following the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic but the expanded benefits decreased for millions of US recipients on March 1 due to cuts approved in the 2023 Omnibus spending bill. Community food services across the US have reported a surge in demand for food assistance since the beginning of March. Advocates for low-income households are urging Congress to boost SNAP benefits in the upcoming federal farm bill but Kristen Miaele, president of Good Shepherd Food Bank, said that the farm bill is at least several months away from being enacted.
                                  • People who depend on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, are struggling to find other ways to feed their families following a benefit reduction in March. Food banks around mid-Michigan say that the demand is the highest they’ve seen in a long time, with lower-income families and the elderly affected the most. More than 1.3 million people in Michigan lost at least $95 in food benefits per month. Michigan officials say that people who use SNAP should double-check their eligibility to see if they qualify for more benefits. Leftover SNAP benefits can be used up to nine months after they are issued.
                                  • Every household in the 32 states affected by the SNAP benefit decrease, Washington, DC, Guam, and the Virgin Islands receives at least $95 per month less now that enhancements to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program have ended, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP). Some households will see a loss of $250 or more in benefits based on their incomes. "It's a huge hunger cliff families are facing," said Poonam Gupta, research associate at the Urban Institute's Income and Benefits Policy Center. Benefits average about $6.10 per person per day, according to the CBPP.
                                  • Food banks in every region of the country are struggling with high demand, rising food prices, and burnt-out staff, according to National Public Radio. CAPI USA, a Minnesota-based nonprofit, typically spends $50,000 per year for 400 pounds of food, said CEO Ekta Prakash. CAPI spent nearly $100,000 for roughly the same amount of food in 2022 and is struggling to meet rising demand. "By Thursday, there is no food," she said. CAPRI has reduced the hours of their food shelf, closing on Friday through the weekend. While people are still donating food, financial giving by individuals and corporations has slowed, said Prakash. Corporations need more money to pay workers.
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