COVID-19 has placed the global economy under tremendous strain, and the agri-food supply chain has been affected with disruptions in food supply, a reorganization of food manufacturing and distribution, as well as new food habits of consumers shifting to production and consumption back into homes. At the same time, it is worth recalling that according to the UN, currently 55% of the world’s population lives in urban areas, a proportion that was expected to increase to 60% by 2050. However, the pandemic is disrupting urban food systems worldwide and posing a number of unexpected challenges for public authorities, food business operators, cities and also non-profit organizations such as FEBA network and their affiliated partner charities that deal with rapid changes in food availability, accessibility, and affordability – especially for disadvantaged people.
The context can vary from country to country, but all the members of the European Food Banks Federation are showing similar challenges such as the growing demand for food, the loss of volunteers, a reorganization of the operational model, and a drop in financial resources.
Despite all these difficulties, our members are expressing their full commitment, creativity, and openness to change. They continue to ensure the activity while adapting and innovating their actions to this new ‘normal’. In this context, the Annual Forum “European Food Banks Federation: competences and creativity to feed the future” was organised on 17 December 2020 with the objective to take stock of the current situation and spot a light on future trends and a focus on European policies such as the Next Generation EU and the ESF+.
Contributions from FEBA members, officials from the European Commissions and representatives from the Academia gave a comprehensive overview and foster the discussion.