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Aotearoa Standard Food Parcel Measure

A new Standard Food Parcel measure is being launched by Kore Hiakai Zero Hunger Collective, for use by Foodbanks and community food organisations across Aotearoa. This is to help measure the volume of food being distributed in our communities, and how many people it is reaching.

“This measure is not a prescription. We are not trying to tell Foodbanks what specific foods they should give out. We are inviting Foodbanks to count the food assistance they are engaged in using this measure.”

During the initial 2020 COVID-19 Lockdown, Foodbanks, Mārae and community food organisations throughout Aotearoa responded to the significant increase in the need for food assistance across low income communities. As the Government, Foodbanks and community food distributors tried to understand what the volume of food was being distributed and to how many people, it became evident different organisations had a different understanding and practices when giving ‘Food Parcel’ assistance.

Through a sector survey, findings proved Food Parcels throughout the country differed in size variations, the number of people catered to, number of days food support should last, and with different food groups included. Therefore we could not be consistently count how many Food Parcels were being distributed across Aotearoa. In response, Kore Hiakai Zero Hunger Collective spent nearly a year developing a common quantifier – the ‘Aotearoa Standard Food Parcel Measure’.

“We sought wisdom from community food organisations including Foodbanks, Mārae, Pātaka Kai and Communty Gardens. We used this to develop recommendations, which were tested and retested. We sought advice from nutritional experts, as well as sought assistance from food rescue agencies and the Ministry of Social Development” said Kore Hiakai Pou Ārahi, Tric Malcom.

Kore Hiakai support the work of community food organisations around Aotearoa, while also undertaking the slower, deeper work of addressing poverty-related hunger’s root causes. The Collective brings together community, producers, retailers’, philanthropy, and government to build collaborative, long-term, sustainable, and mana-enhancing solutions to food inequality.

Kore Hiakai say this research shows it is important that Standard Food Parcels should not be considered a long term solution to food insecurity because they create a temporary food solution to security but do not address the root causes of food-related poverty. A Standard Food Parcel is intended to be supplementary to what food whānau currently have access to. It is important that Standard Food Parcels are shaped to meet the specific needs of whānau as well as their nutritional needs.

“As people across the country continue to need support with food, we at Kore Hiakai believe this initiative will help provide greater understanding and cohesion about just what is in a ‘Food Parcel’. The Aotearoa Standard Food Parcel Measure will help those organisations offering Food Parcels in their local community understand what an adequate amount and type of food is, and hopefully encourage them to meet those standards,” Helen Robinson, co-chair Kore Hiakai and Auckland City Missioner

From their research, and through testing models and prototypes with community food organisations, Kore Hiakai are set to launch the Aotearoa Standard Food Parcel Measure for use by Foodbanks and community food organisations across New Zealand for use from July 2021.

The Aotearoa Standard Food Parcel Measure:

  • Is for four people, adult or children,
  • Covers 3 meals a day
  • For four days a week
  • Meets approximately 80% of the standard NZ nutritional intake

Kore Hiakai research also showed the difficulty that many Foodbanks have with procurement of fresh produce, and therefore meeting the New Zealand nutritional intake standard. Fresh fruit and vegetables are particularly hard to source unless there is funding or a direct relationship with Food Rescue. The New Zealand Food Network, the Ministry of Social Development and the newly formed Aotearoa Food Rescue Alliance are commited to working with Kore Hiakai to bring more comprehenisve access and nutritious supply to Foodbanks and community food organisations.

Over the next 12 months Kore Hiakai are inviting Foodbanks and community food organisations to count the number of Standard Food Parcels they distribute using this measure in order to gauge a better understanding for the level of food insecurity within our communities. 

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