Food Bank Netherlands has seen the supply of food decline for several weeks. As a result, more and more food banks are facing shortages and customers are receiving less extensive packages, while the number of people using the food bank is increasing.
According to the Food Bank Netherlands, the shortages differ per location, but it often concerns perishable products such as cheese, meat products and vegetables. “We’ve seen a lot less food coming to us lately,” says Pien de Ruig of Food Bank Netherlands. “We see that supermarkets are much more aware of the prevention of food waste, which is of course a good thing, but because of that the food is no longer coming to us”.
Local suppliers and restaurants that usually serve food are also increasingly disappearing. “Everyone is trying to keep their heads above water in these times of crisis. At the moment there are some food banks with really empty shelves, which is a signal that we must take seriously,” says De Ruig.
Two thirds reduced
The Dutch Food Bank cannot say how big the problem is. Twice a year, the organization conducts a survey of the 172 distribution points throughout the country. The next measurement moment is planned for January 2021. “But we have been receiving alarming reports from all over the country for weeks,” said De Ruig.
This is also the case from Groningen, where the supply of products has decreased by two thirds, according to chairman Monique Beuving. “We are very dependent on the supply we got from a Jumbo branch in the region. It recently started a new campaign against food waste, offering food with a best before date that expires that day more cheaply to customers. That action is a success. And that means little to no food is coming our way, “Beuving said in it NOS Radio 1 News.
The remaining stock is distributed daily among the more than 700 families that depend on the Groningen Food Bank. “This ranges from single households to entire families who sometimes only have to make do with 35 euros a week.” Supermarket chain Jumbo has announced that it realizes that the campaign will affect the flow of products to the food banks. They discuss how support can still be offered.
Eat less, more clients
The number of clients of the food banks has been increasing for some time. On the reference date 30 June, there were 38,000 households using it every week. That is 8.5 percent more than a year earlier.
For the coming period, the organization is preparing for perhaps 50 percent growth due to the corona crisis. “If we structurally receive less food on the one hand and more clients on the other, then we really end up in a split,” says Pien de Ruig of Food Bank Netherlands.