Factors associated with the healthfulness of food shelf orders

Colin Cureton, Robert P. King, Cael Warren, Katherine Young Grannon, Courtney Hoolihan, Mark Janowiec, Marilyn S. Nanney

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Food shelves are placing increased emphasis on the healthfulness of the food they offer to clients. This paper presents an analysis of foods ordered from food banks by 110 food shelves in Minnesota and western Wisconsin in 2013. We examine whether and how food shelves’ Healthy Eating Index scores for ordered food are associated with food shelf size and sourcing patterns, food bank providers, food shelf policies, food shelf manager characteristics, client characteristics and community-level demographics. We find a significant positive relationship between annual order quantity and the HEI-2010 score for ordered food. We also find strong associations between characteristics of the person placing food bank orders and the healthfulness of food ordered, which suggest that training programs designed to improve these individuals’ skills and motivation for ordering a healthy assortment of foods may have an important impact. Finally, while the age structure of clients served does have a significant relationship with HEI-2010 scores, it is noteworthy that the ethnic profile of clients served by a food shelf does not have a strong relationship with the healthfulness of food ordered. This suggests that food shelves can respond successfully to wide variations in culturally based food preferences.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)124-131
Number of pages8
JournalFood Policy
StatePublished - Aug 2017


  • Emergency food
  • Food bank
  • Food pantry
  • Food shelf
  • Food shelf characteristics
  • Healthy Eating Index


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