As food banks are experiencing the urgency to provide food to those in need, ProduceDesk is working to connect farmer’s rejected food loads with food banks’ rising demands. 

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The Problem: Wasted Food Supply

Produce prices are too large of a burden for many Americans. In fact, over 35 million Americans struggle with hunger each year. Since the COVID-19 pandemic, experts predict that even more people—42 million—are experiencing food insecurity. 

Yet 30-40% of our nation’s food supply goes to waste before it even gets to consumers, according to the USDA. This discrepancy is startling. Why is this food going to waste? And how can we get it into hungry people’s hands? 

There are many reasons that food goes to waste. Food loss can occur due to:

  • Spoilage. Food goes to waste at every stage of production and the supply chain. Spoilage can occur due to damage by insects, rodents, molds, equipment malfunction, etc. Spoiled food is inedible. 
  • Over-ordering. Some food is wasted due to a retail establishment’s accidental over-ordering when they predict consumers’ needs to be greater than they are. This food is edible. 
  • Culling of blemished produce. Many retail establishments throw out blemished produce that doesn’t look perfect. However, blemished food is usually edible. 
  • Discarded consumer food. Like retail establishments, consumers sometimes buy or cook more food than they need. They then throw the food in their trash cans, rendering it inedible. 

Spoiled food and discarded consumer food is of no use to hungry consumers. The food that retail establishments reject is another matter entirely. Once retail establishments turn their over-ordered or blemished food back over to farmers, hungry consumers can, in theory, eat it right away. 

However, consumers usually have no way to directly access farmers, even if farmers’ rejected food loads are perfectly edible. 

The Solution: Farm to Food Bank Relationships

Hungry consumers need a way to access rejected food loads from farmers. This is where food banks step in. 

Farmers sometimes donate surplus food to food banks. However, given their tight margins and high produce prices, this is not a sustainable model—especially in times of economic downturn. They need to be able to recoup some of the losses they suffer from rejected food loads. 

If food banks could somehow form a business connection with farms and make an agreement to sell that unused food at a lower price, then food banks, farmers, and, most importantly, consumers, can put that food to good use. But how can food banks connect with farmers, gaining access to wasted food before it goes bad? 

ProduceDesk offers a simple solution, closing the supply chain gap for food banks and farmers. 

How ProduceDesk Works

ProduceDesk is an online marketplace that helps food banks locate and buy distressed produce at a significant discount from nearby farmers with an arranged delivery.

To help food banks learn about available food long before it spoils, ProduceDesk allows account administrators to set up custom alerts and receive notifications right when opportunities present themselves.

Foodbank leaders can even use ProduceDesk’s data and analytics to review produce trends and plan future purchases better. This data is displayed in simple charts for easy review and analysis. 

How ProduceDesk Benefits Farmers and Food Banks

With ProduceDesk, food banks can learn about well-priced, local food loads that they can access quickly. Plus, they can help reduce the amount of national food waste—a goal that many food banks are dedicated to meeting. 

Produce sellers also benefit from ProduceDesk’s platform. Now, when their produce loads are rejected because of over-ordering or blemishes, they don’t have to see their hard work go to waste, suffering potentially devastating economic losses. They have another option for selling their items. 

Conclusion: A Win-Win for Food Banks and Farmers

Food waste is a national problem. Consumers need food, but can’t access it. Food banks, who have a large number of people to feed, have to watch edible foods go to waste. Farmers, who need to make a living to keep their farms running, suffer economic losses. 

ProduceDesk connects food banks with farmers who have rejected produce loads, solving their individual problems and making the world a better place at the same time. 


Interested in trying the software? ProduceDesk is offering a limited free subscription to all food banks. Learn more here.