> 2018 Food Hub Benchmark Study

Baseball legend Yogi Berra once said, “If you don’t know where you’re going, you might not get there.” That’s the idea behind the Food Hub Benchmark Study: to better understand where the sector is headed, and to help individual hub operators understand how to get on and (stay on) the path to long-term financial success. A benchmark study collects financial and operational information from businesses in the same industry or sector. This information is analyzed to determine validity and comparability, standardized, and then aggregated to show a range of performance indicators. The resulting benchmarks not only provide insight into the sector, but also provide a decision-making tool for individual business managers.

Over time, RSF Social Finance expects this benchmark study to act like a compass—a true north of sorts—revealing the operational trends that will validate an organization’s business model and path to self-sufficiency. For funders, these trends will inform how we choose to support and capitalize this movement.
— Kate Danaher, RSF Social Finance

Large companies develop or access benchmarks by hiring consulting firms to conduct research on their competitors. In the food hub sector, we proactively share this data to help each other grow and build stronger, more sustainable food systems.

In 2014, Wallace Center partnered with Farm Credit and Morse Marketing to analyze data from 48 food hubs and publish Counting Values: 2014 Food Hub Benchmarking Study. This Spring, we will again begin collecting data for the largest study to date. With your help, we can reach our goal of benchmarking 75 food hubs nationwide and producing the best set of performance indicators the sector has ever had.

How to participate in the 2018 study:

  1. Review Wallace Center’s free Financial Fundamentals for Food Hubs webinar series, in which Farm Credit representatives will demonstrate how to set up and manage your key financial reports. These short webinars are a great way to ensure that your books are in order and that you’re ready to participate in the 2018 study.
  2. Around the time you’re closing the books on your 2017 business operations, Wallace Center and Farm Credit will be launching the benchmark study portal in February 2018. You’ll complete a brief survey and submit a set of common financial reports for analysis. This process is completely confidential (even the Wallace Center never sees any individual data) and protected by Farm Credit’s bank-level security.
  3. To thank you for your participation, your company will receive an individualized benchmark report, comparing your individual hub performance to the sector. You’ll also receive technical assistance on how to use the findings of the study as a decision-making and goal-setting tool.
  4. Once the study is completed, tune in for a National Good Food Network webinar on the findings of the study in July 2018.
  5. Pick up a free copy of the full 2018 Benchmark Study report, available in August 2018.

Data collection for the 2018 Food Hub Benchmark Study will begin in February 2018.

Visit http://foodhub.info for updates and information on how to participate.