Food hubs—businesses that actively manage the aggregation and distribution of source-identified food products—are receiving continued, growing attention from diverse stakeholders who see food hubs as vectors for economic growth and social and environmental change. As consumer desire for local and regional foods continues to grow and evolve, food hubs are increasing in number and adapting to shifting demand from intermediated local and regional food markets. The 2015 National Food Hub Survey and its predecessor, the 2013 National Food Hub Survey, represent a broad effort to aggregate national level data on the characteristics and impact of food hubs. Together, these surveys represent the beginning of a longitudinal database from a large, broad national sample of food hubs. This survey was lead by Michigan State University's Center for Regional Food Systems, with assistance from Wallace Center and other National Good Food Network Food Hub Collaboration members.
The 2015 survey findings indicate that as new food hubs continue to open for business, more established food hubs continue to operate and thrive. One-third of hubs completing the survey began operations in the last two years. Threefourths of surveyed hubs across the nation are breaking even or better. By comparison, a little over two-thirds (68%) of food hubs were breaking even or better in 2013. We think this change represents an important threshold that demonstrates the food hub model can be financially successful across a variety of legal structures and geographic or customer markets.
Citation: Hardy, J., Hamm, M., Pirog, R., Fisk, J., Farbman, J., & Fischer, M. (2016). Findings of the 2015 National Food Hub Survey. East Lansing, MI: Michigan State University Center for Regional Food Systems & The Wallace Center at Winrock International. Retrieved from http://foodsystems.msu.edu/activities/food-hub-survey