Research and guides

To work together is to share and learn together! On this website, we collect materials aimed at supporting food aid activities.


The Finnish Food Authority: Guide “Foodstuffs donated to food aid”

The Finnish Food Authority (previously the Finnish Food Safety Authority) has compiled a guide for actors distributing and channelling food aid as well as for municipalities’ food safety control authorities that monitor these activities. The purpose of the guide is to clarify procedures and responsibility issues related to the delivery of food aid.

The guide is based on the idea that the foodstuffs donated to food aid must be safe. The guide aims at instructing the actors so that food waste can be reduced.


The Finnish Food Authority’s website on food waste

In addition to the food companies donating food, food aid actors are also responsible for the safety of the foodstuffs. The Finnish Food Authority gives instructions to food aid distributors on the importance of, for example, a functioning cold chain, rapid handover and storage cycle.

All actors in the food industry, such as primary producers, processors, storages, supermarkets, industrial catering companies and restaurants can donate foodstuffs to food aid.

vapaaehtoiseksi ruoka-apuun

Become a food aid volunteer!

“Become a food aid volunteer!” is a comprehensive information package for all actors involved in food aid. The guide is based on the training given by the Finnish Red Cross to its volunteers. The material has been supplemented and processed further in co-operation with the “Osallistava yhteisö” project  of the Church Resources Agency.

In addition, the Natural Resources Institute Finland, the Finnish Blue Ribbon, Stadin Safka and Vantaa Shared Table have participated in compiling, checking and supplementing the guide.


Wasteless Vantaa and ABC Book of Vantaa Shared Table

The Shared Table of Vantaa is much more than just community meals or mere logistics concerning food waste. It refers to a new kind of culture for regional food aid and brings the network of food aid together. It is a functional and centralised logistics system that improves the utilisation of food waste. It endeavours to develop versatile and human ways of distributing food aid in ways that suit each food aid distribution point, at the same time increasing the agency and well-being of the recipients of food aid.

Wasteless Vantaa was a joint project of Shared Table and the Finnish Innovation Fund Sitra in the years 2018–2019. For more information, please go to the website or read the ABC Book that summarises the ideas behind the Wasteless Vantaa project.


The Natural Resources Institute Finland: Redistribution of food and reduction of food waste

The project studied the redistribution of food as a means of reducing food waste in Finland. The aim was to determine the potential and ways of increasing the use of surplus food in Finland through food aid organisations.

Questionnaires and surveys were conducted to find out the scale of food aid activities, forms of food distribution and amounts of food distributed as well as challenges experienced by the actors and development needs in food aid activities. Also, communications, assessed as being essential by actors, and chances for improving communications were investigated.

Authors: Harrison, Eric; Kaustell, Kim; Silvennoinen, Kirsi
Luonnonvarakeskus 2020


The Natural Resources Institute Finland: Communication guide “Tieto kiertämään” for food aid actors

Communication helps you to achieve your targets. With its help, information concerning food aid is directed at the right people, new actors are attracted to join the activities, misunderstandings are prevented and trust is built among partners.

Once the importance of food aid is made visible, the preconditions for continuing the activities are strengthened. The donations and need for help meet in a successful manner when courses of action, events and results of activities are communicated effectively – to the right people, at the right time and through the right channels.

In addition to practical tips, the guide includes contract and document templates.

Author: Kim Kaustell 2019


Stadin safka: Guide to food safety in food aid

The guide, compiled in 2021, contains the most important issues for food aid operators about food legislation, as well as tips on food safety.

Available only in Finnish.


Stadin safka: Työllistä ruoka-avun kentällä

The purpose of this guide is to introduce different forms of employment and to lower the threshold for experimenting with them.The guide summarizes the main employment possibilities from a food aid perspective.

Examples in the guide book are from Helsinki City.

Available only in Finnish.


Project “Terveydeksi!”: Raise concerns and guide towards services

The purpose of the guide is to serve as a handbook on raising concerns in conversations and low-threshold service coordination. You can study it independently or use it as back-up in different situations. Each topic comes with a reference or link that provides further information on the issue.

The guide was drawn up during the joint “Terveydeksi!” project of the Finnish National Organisation of the Unemployed and EHYT Finnish Association for Substance Use Prevention (2016–2019).

Authors: Veera Luoto, Ulla-Maija Kopra, Katriina Lehtovaara and Timo Nerkko 2019


Satakunnan Yhteisökeskus: Guidance concerning co-operation between donors and food aid distributors

The clear instructions given by Satakunnan Yhteisökeskus provide practical tips for initiating co-operation between food donors and food aid distributors. The materials contain useful contract templates.


Research on food aid activities and aid recipients in Espoo

Kristiina Alppivuoren ansiokkaat tutkimukset (2020 ja 2021) espoolaisesta ruoka-avusta avaavat koronakriisin The meritorious studies by Kristiina Alppivuori (2020 and 2021) on food aid provided in Espoo explain the impacts of the coronavirus crisis on food aid activities and outline the views of food aid recipients concerning food aid, their situations in life and other needs for support.

Author: Kristiina Alppivuori


Impacts of the coronavirus crisis on food aid in spring 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic surprised society as a whole in spring 2020. Finland was thrown into an economic downturn and concern for health and jobs increased. Those who were down on their luck already before the pandemic were hit the hardest by the crisis.

The report examines spring 2020 from the perspective of food aid distributors and investigates the impacts of the coronavirus crisis on Finnish food aid activities during this period.

Authors: Tuomo Laihiala ja Reetta Nick


Oulun Prikka: Report “Managing food waste and bringing it to shared tables”

The preliminary assessment report has been produced as part of the “Oulun Prikka” project. The report includes a modelling for the utilisation of food waste in the city of Oulu.

The actors involved in the Prikka project, funded by the Centre for Economic Development, Transport and Environment of North Ostrobothnia, were the Diaconia University of Applied Sciences in Oulu and Oulu Deaconess Institute Foundation. Partners participating in the project were the City of Oulu and the Oulu Evangelical Lutheran Parish Union. The model was built in co-operation with a network of actors in Oulu.

Authors: Nina Niemelä ja Pilvi Sauvola


The Finnish National Organisation of the Unemployed: Food distribution by member organisations in 2020

A study commissioned by the Finnish National Organisation of the Unemployed examines the food distribution arranged by its member organisations in 2020.

The study aimed at finding out how the food distribution was organised and how the activities of the member organisations are positioned in the wider field of food aid actors. A questionnaire was conducted to investigate what organisations think about the change in food distribution and what ideas they have in view of their own activities. The answers provided the central organisation with important insight on the organisations’ needs with regard to food distribution.

Author: Maarit Fagernäs


The Finnish Blue Ribbon: Looking for a shared viewpoint – a report on co-operation in the field of food aid

The report was done as an assignment by the Finnish Blue Ribbon in November–December 2020. It is based on thematic interviews of 20 persons, describing the co-operation in the food aid field of six fairly large cities.

The report focuses on two themes: what is co-operation in cities like and what are the potential areas of development within that co-operation.

Authors: Jenni Passoja, Jukka Ahonen & Suvi Jokelainen


Samaria rf: The impact of government subsidy on food aid work carried out by organisations

The assessment reports from 2018 and 2019 concentrate on evaluating the impacts of an additional project grant awarded separately by the Parliament to food aid activities in organisations that have participated in the project applications of Samaria rf.

The report contains assessment data that the project required, but it also provides supplementary information on Finnish food aid work in dozens of organisations and associations.

Author: Ismo Valkoniemi

More research and reports on food aid:



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