> Food Hub Benchmarking Report 2019

The food hub benchmarking report illustrates ‘how’ food hubs are managing their businesses, and highlights the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that food hub owners, managers, and operators can use to manage their business and increase their profitability.

This report is not intended to be a ‘state of the food hub sector’ report, as it encompasses only 50 food hubs that were in operation in 2017, which is just a small cross-section of the sector. It’s not intended to be a description of ‘what’ food hubs are doing, as there have been many good studies covering this ground (for example, the MSU/Wallace Center Food Hub Survey). However, it can serve as a valuable resource for food hubs to better understand how they can improve the function of their businesses.

Any business, even mission-driven organizations, can’t be sustainable without sound financial management. A well-run food hub is a sustainable business in more ways than one: not only does it cover expenses and meet debt obligations, it reinvests in growth, evolution, and mission impact. A better understanding of food hub KPIs gives owners and managers the ability to plan, to set goals, and to achieve their mission.

Read the full report “Financial Management for Food Hub Success - One KPI At A Time

> Findings of the 2017 National Food Hub Survey

Michigan State University's Center for Regional Food Systems once again partnered with Wallace Center at Winrock International to produce the 2017 National Food Hub Survey, and its report the Findings.

Made apparent in the related executive summary, there are six core concepts that emerge from the survey responses. It is clear that FOOD HUBS...

  • Are becoming an established sector
  • Contribute to the economy
  • Support farmers
  • Support the "triple bottom line"
  • Capacity to meet food safety certification demands is increasing
  • Still face viability challenges

Kate Danaher, Senior Director, Social Enterprise Lending & Integrated Capital at RSF Social Finance expresses the value of the study: "The National Food Hub Survey data is absolutely critical both for food hub operators and for those of us interested in investing in a new food paradigm. At RSF Social Finance, we use the data to help underwrite our investments and to provide practical business support services to our clients."

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> Findings of the 2015 National Food Hub Survey

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.

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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

> Food Hubs: Solving Local

This report presents five case studies that show how small-farm aggregators and food retailers and distributors are teaming up to bring local food into larger-scale wholesale channels. Known as regional food hubs, the small-farm aggregators are helping industry partners meet growing consumer demand for food that comes with local economic, environmental, and social benefits.

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> State of the Food Hub - 2013 National Survey Results

Proponents and detractors alike, including funders, academics and food hub managers, are seeking real data that can better explain the scope and scale of food hub activities and their influence on their regions. In early 2013, the Michigan State University Center for Regional Food Systems in cooperation with the Wallace Center at Winrock International surveyed over 100 food hubs across the country to understand their businesses, their impacts and their challenges. 

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