It’s National Nutrition Month! Connecticut Foodshare has an exciting announcement.
Connecticut Foodshare Prioritizes Nutritional Quality of Food
Nutrition Policy developed to expand access to healthy food options
Wallingford, Conn. March 1, 2022 — Access to healthy, nutritious food is a challenge for families who struggle
with food insecurity. As a result, people visiting food pantries often experience an additional burden of diet related chronic diseases such as hypertension and diabetes. Connecticut Foodshare is taking action, along with food banks across the country, by adopting a nutrition policy with the encouragement from Feeding America that commits to prioritizing the distribution of healthy and nutritious food.
“The Connecticut Foodshare Nutrition Policy was developed to better serve our community. This policy will guide our decisions in sourcing foods so that the products we distribute will contribute to the health of the people we serve. No one in Connecticut should have to choose between healthy food and their medicine or paying their heating bill. We are in a position to expand access to nutrition for families, and with food costs
continuing to rise, we are here to help people who can’t always afford the healthy choice on their limited budgets,” said Jason Jakubowski, President & CEO of Connecticut Foodshare.
Connecticut Foodshare uses the Supporting Wellness at Pantries (SWAP) ranking system to monitor and assess the nutritional quality of our food inventory based on levels of saturated fat, sodium, and added sugars. SWAP, created by the Connecticut Foodshare Institute for Hunger Research & Solutions and implemented nationwide, categorizes foods into one of three tiers: green (choose often), yellow (choose sometimes), and red (choose rarely). Through the new nutrition policy, Connecticut Foodshare will actively seek and procure foods that fall in the “green” and “yellow” SWAP categories.
Connecticut Foodshare supports hundreds of partner programs across the state that are a consistent source of food for families facing food insecurity, and the nutritional quality of the food provided has a significant impact on their health and wellbeing. Anne Miller the Executive Director of TEEG shared how SWAP has changed the way people are choosing food in their Community Markets. “We have been very pleased with the positive response that our market guests have had in regard to the SWAP program. While we have not measured health outcomes, we see guests choosing from and looking for our green shelf items. Donors have also had a positive response, even offering to host “fresh food drives.” We are very pleased with the program and look to a future of good health for those we serve.”
Connecticut Foodshare will engage with the community to understand the food needs and preferences of the people we serve, including culturally preferred foods, to help make informed decisions about the products we procure and distribute. “Our goal is to make it easier for families on a limited budget to be able to access healthy, nutritious food. Our nutrition policy will help improve the nutritional quality of our inventory by using
data and communicating with our food donors about the healthy foods that we want to increase,” said Katie Martin, Executive Director, Connecticut Foodshare’s Institute for Hunger Research & Solutions.
Stop & Shop is a long-time partner of Connecticut Foodshare and a leader among the food industry in the fight against food insecurity. Jennifer Brogan, Director of Community Relations, shared this about supporting healthy foods for our communities, “Increasing access to fresh and healthy foods for those facing food insecurity is a priority for us. This extends to our food bank partnerships as we’ve recently expanded the types
of foods we’re donating to our partners like Connecticut Foodshare to increase donations of fresh items like produce, dairy, and meat for those in need. Stop & Shop’s launch of the Fresh Connect prescription produce program is another example of this. Last month, we became the first major retailer to make this program available in our stores for members to purchase fruits and vegetables prescribed by their healthcare providers. We expect the program to be available in our Connecticut stores by this spring.”
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ABOUT CONNECTICUT FOODSHARE
Connecticut Foodshare is the food bank serving the people of Connecticut and a member of the national
Feeding America network. Last year, Connecticut Foodshare distributed enough food to provide 47 million
meals through a network of 700 community-based hunger relief programs, including food pantries, community
kitchens, and emergency shelters, while also working on long-term solutions to food insecurity. Thousands of
volunteers help power the work of Connecticut Foodshare, and last year, they gave more than 62,000 hours of
service. To learn more visit www.ctfoodshare.org
About the Institute for Hunger Research & Solutions
The Connecticut Foodshare Institute for Hunger Research & Solutions was founded in August 2019 with the
goal to serve as a resource for food banks nationwide as well as local Connecticut community partners by providing strategies for holistic solutions
to hunger. The Institute develops innovative and evidence-based programs that promote health and address
the root causes of hunger. The Institute researches different approaches to identify what works and provide trainings and
services so that others can implement best practices within the charitable food network. For more information,