Boulder Food Rescue is committed to evidence-based practices and continuing to conduct research to inform our programs and work in the community. We believe in the importance of understanding the systems that we lend a hand in, including food waste and food insecurity.

2015-Ongoing: Community Based Participatory Design Research

Voices of Food Insecurity: Exploring Barriers and Strategies to Healthy Food Access
For more information, please visit our full page here. 

2016: City of Boulder Food Waste Audit

Boulder Food Rescue was contracted by the City of Boulder to perform an audit of food waste by restaurants and grocery stores in Boulder as part of the Zero Waste Master Plan to effectively understand the current situation and analyze the gaps within food waste redistribution in grocery stores and restaurants in Boulder. Such an audit of food waste would be one of the first of its kind in this country, providing an innovative component of the zero-waste initiative in Boulder.

This audit describes the current situation around food waste in the City, and suggests ways the City and other organizations can get involved to tackle the issue of food waste and fill some of the gaps left behind by current players in food redistribution.

Click here to see the Full Report 

 To see our press in the local paper about our findings, go here.

2014: Case Study of Food Retailers

Food Recovery Through Donations as a Response to Food Waste:  A Case Study of Two Grocery Stores Participating in a Food Recovery Program in Boulder

Authored by: Celine Davis

Abstract: With the amount of food waste generated in the U.S. continually increasing, the misuse of food along each stage of the food lifecycle has become a serious environmental, social, and financial issue. In an effort to both relieve food insecurity and decrease food waste, food recovery programs have emerged to reclaim excess and unmarketable food from the food industry. Boulder Food Rescue partners with grocery stores to collect wholesome and safe perishable food items for the redistribution to local charitable organizations feeding the hungry. While food rescue organizations have developed an effective model for establishing partnerships with donors, a gap in research exists concerning how the donors actually implement the recovery program. The case study identifies what factors influence how two grocery stores partnered with Boulder Food Rescue interact with the recovery program and how those interactions impact the ways in which the program functions overall.

Click here to se the Full Report

2014: Recipient Survey Analysis

Boulder Food Rescue just finished evaluating the recipient survey passed out for 2014. This survey focuses on quantity and quality of foods, volunteer accountability, community involvement and access to healthy foods.

 Click Here to see the Full Analysis

2012: Recipient Case Study

In order to better understand our impact on recipients of food, and to quantify the value of direct just-in-time food rescue as a model, we conducted a research study with one of our recipients. A description of the study, its results, and the full text are below:

Nutrition and Very Perishable Food Rescue:
A study on the contributions of fresh produce to one relief agency in Boulder, Colorado

Authored by Rhonda Hoeningman

Abstract: The purpose of this report is to examine the effect that recovery of culled produce from grocery stores has on the quantity of fresh fruits and vegetables available in meals served by one relief agency in Boulder, Colorado. Boulder Food Rescue uses a just-in-time model to recover fragile, highly perishable produce that is frequently not collected by traditional food rescue and relief organizations and delivers it directly to recipients. One of those recipients, Bridge House, is a day shelter that serves approximately 1,000 meals a week to homeless and working poor individuals. These two organizations recorded the ingredients and the donor of those ingredients in each Bridge House meal served for eight weeks (February and March, 2012). Boulder Food Rescue contributed 600 lbs of produce a week, representing 66% of the fresh fruits and vegetables served, equivalent to between two and three servings of fruits and vegetables per meal, and was the only food-rescue source for many of these items. Results show that the just-in-time food rescue model can supplement traditional food relief organizations by supplying fresh fruit and vegetables in the winter months when it would have been otherwise cost prohibitive.

Click here to see the Full Report (pdf)

2011: Understanding the Sustainability of Retail Food Recovery

Authored by Caleb Phillips, Rhonda Hoeningman, Becky Higbee and Tom Reed

This study looks at the simultaneous problems of food waste and hunger in the context of food rescue and redistribution as a means for mitigating hunger. The authors develop a model that can be used to study the dynamics of food waste.

Click here to see the full report