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Analysis of food bank implementation as formal care assistance in Korea

Tomio Kobayashi (Faculty of Business, Aichi Institute of Technology, Nagoya, Japan)
Jagath Kularatne (International Cooperation Center for Agricultural Education, Nagoya University, Nagoya, Japan)
Yutaka Taneichi (Graduate School of Sciences and Technology for Innovation, Division of Agricultural Sciences, Yamaguchi University, Yamaguchi, Japan)
Nobuhide Aihara (Department of Food Business, Faculty of Health and Human Life, Nagoya Bunri University, Inazawa, Japan)

British Food Journal

ISSN: 0007-070X

Article publication date: 2 January 2018




In contrast with countries where food banks (FBs) have developed as informal care, FBs in Korea developed under government patronage as a formal care system. However, the performance of FBs under the formal care approach has not yet been studied. Therefore, the purpose of this paper is to investigate the quantity of food donation (QFD) and the variety of food donation (VFD) of FBs in Korea.


Aspects of quantity of donations, variety of donations, and changes in the number of donors and recipients for Korean FBs were considered. Regression analysis and the Herfindahl-Hirschman index were employed for the analysis, and data were collected through on-site interviews in Korea and online information.


Korean FBs were initially based on the concept of gift exchanges, with the expectation of receiving something in return, and thus did not employ the concept of real gifts or charity. Moreover, Korean FB development was compelled, as this exchange was enacted into law. Therefore, the QFD increased rapidly post the legislation of FBs, a fact not observed in other countries. The authors verified that the QFD and VFD in Korea increased significantly within a decade due to the government intervention.

Research limitations/implications

Aspects such as satisfaction and the nutritional needs of FB beneficiaries are not investigated in detail.


The study found that global FBs, which are an inherently informal system, could also be successfully developed as a policy-based formal care system.



The authors declare no conflict of interest. This work was supported by JSPS KAKENHI under grant number 15K07627. The grant was used mainly as travel expenses for data collection by on-site interviews for this paper. Special thanks to SSN and religious organizations that operate many FBs in Korea for providing the authors with the data and information.


Kobayashi, T., Kularatne, J., Taneichi, Y. and Aihara, N. (2018), "Analysis of food bank implementation as formal care assistance in Korea", British Food Journal, Vol. 120 No. 1, pp. 182-195.



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