Ultra-processed foods (i.e., shelf-stable, energy-dense foods high in added sugar, fat, salt, and additives) comprise over half of the American diet and intake is even higher among low-income populations. Intake of ultra-processed foods is linked health risks that disproportionately affect low-income populations. GVFB is committed to improving our services and providing healthy options for our customers.
Learn about our framework below.
We look forward to empowering our customers to improve their health with a variety of educational health programming in our new food bank.
Individuals and families that seek food bank emergency services are typically more at risk of eating nutrient-poor foods. While choice is paramount at Gallatin Valley Food Bank providing opportunity for proper nutrition is equally as important.
Examples of items that the GVFB will choose to exclude from the inventory are:
- Sugar-sweetened beverages
- Dented Cans
- Canned goods older than 2 years past expiration
- Dry goods greater than 1 year past expiration
- Baby food or formula past the expiration date
- Frozen meat older than one year from package date
Items that the GVFB will make a strong effort to limit are:
- Ultra-processed foods, foods with additives like soft drinks and candy
- Foods with added fats
- Foods with trans fat
- Foods with added sodium
- Refined grains
- Desserts and sweets
- Foods with added sugar
- Fruits canned in syrup
What is UP3? Bozeman Health, Gallatin Valley Food Bank, Healthy Gallatin, Livingston Food Resource Center, and Montana State University Food and Health Lab joined to conduct The Un-Processed Pantry Project (UP3) in 2019. UP3, pronounced YOU – PEA – THREE, is a study that aims to improve the health of food pantry customers by increasing access to and intake of un-processed foods. The goal of UP3 is to create a framework that any food pantry in Montana or the United States can use to provide customers with un-processed food options, nutrition education, and health measures in order to address diet-related health concerns.
We developed the UnProcessed Pantry Project (UP3) framework to guide access to and consumption of nutritious food among food pantries, customers, and others in the emergency food system. Ultra-processed food has become ubiquitous across food environments, including food pantries, which are accessed by more than 40 million individuals each year in the U.S. Low-income populations, many of which are customers at food pantries, disproportionately consume ultra-processed food, which may contribute to an increased prevalence of nutrition-related chronic diseases. To address this disparity, UP3 helps customers and food pantry stakeholders to distinguish ultra-processed food from all other foods to guide changes in the food supply, support nutritious food choices, and encourage healthy food consumption.
UP3 focuses on four variables of a food pantry:
- Individual. Food pantries can play a role in providing nutrition education to customers. Study participants will meet with a registered dietitian for one hour at the beginning of the intervention to learn about the program. They will also go to nutrition classes and workshops to learn about un-processed foods and why they are important. Throughout the program, participants will receive un-processed food from the pantry to provide about 50% of a nutritious diet.
- Food Environment. The environment within a food pantry has the potential to influence customers to select un-processed foods. UP3 will implement strategies such as product placement, packaging, marketing, and sensory appeal to help participants choose more un-processed foods.
- Food Supply. The nutritional quality of foods supplied to food pantries can be improved by introducing policies that require donors, purchasers, and food banks to focus on more nutritious foods. The UP3 team will change the food pantries’ current policies to acquire more un-processed foods.
- Individual Health. UP3 will take place from March through June (16 weeks) with 40 food pantry customers that volunteer for the study at the Gallatin Valley Food Bank and Livingston Food Resource Center. The UP3 team will track a participant’s dietary intake and health measures to assess the impact of UP3 on health outcomes.