A Technical and Policy Case Study of Large-Scale Rescue and Redistribution of Perishable Foods by the "leket Israel" Food Bank

Dana Philip, Smadar Hod-Ovadia, Aron M. Troen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Background: Food banks seeking to rescue and redistribute highly nutritious perishable foods to simultaneously alleviate food insecurity and reduce food waste often encounter practical, ethical, and political dilemmas. Objectives: We present a case study of "Leket Israel," an Israeli food bank that uses an effective large-scale logistical model for the rescue and redistribution of perishable food and discuss the challenges and solutions it offers. Results: The organization operates in a rich country plagued with poverty and inequality, where the government passively encourages nongovernmental organizations to respond to the serious and growing problem of food insecurity. Operating under a business-to-business model, Leket Israel distributes food via intermediary nonprofit organizations (NPOs), enriching the food they provide with fresh produce. Food is obtained through an Agricultural Gleaning project, Self-Growing Farm project, and Meal Rescue project. The partnering NPOs then distribute the food to people in need. Although the rescue and redistribution of highly perishable food is more costly and complex than acquiring, storing, and distributing dried and staple foods and it requires specialized knowledge and infrastructure in order to maintain rigorous safety standards, it improves the nutritional quality of the aid. In 2015, Leket Israel distributed 15 217 389 kg of food, 90% of which was fruit and vegetables, to 180 partnering NPOs nationwide, reaching an estimated 175 000 recipients. Conclusion: "Leket Israel" offers a valuable model that can be studied and emulated by international nutrition scientists, practitioners, and policy makers who are seeking to reduce food insecurity and food waste in other countries.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)226-239
Number of pages14
JournalFood and Nutrition Bulletin
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2017.


  • agriculture
  • dietary diversity
  • food policy
  • food security
  • food waste
  • household food insecurity


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