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U.S. Food Insecurity Expert Reveals New Evidence: Five Factors That Can Move The Needle On Reducing Food Insecurity

As part of its ongoing commitment to address U.S. food insecurity – an issue that affects more than 50 million people, including nearly 17 million children – ConAgra Foods Foundation announced new research today, developed by Professor Craig Gundersen, on the actions foundations and advocates can take to substantially reduce food insecurity. Gundersen, an economist and one of the nation’s foremost experts in the areas of domestic food insecurity research, revealed the findings to an audience in Waco, Texas, during the Southwest Regional Hunger Summit held at Baylor University.

As keynote speaker at the Summit, Gundersen gave an overview on U.S. food insecurity and named the five factors that the research shows have the greatest impact on reducing food insecurity, captured in his report: An Overview of the Effectiveness of Various Approaches to Addressing Food Insecurity in the United States.

The five evidence-based factors covered in the report are:

  1. Participation in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP); formerly known as the Food Stamp program
  2. Participation in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP)
  3. Use of emergency food assistance programs
  4. Low food prices
  5. Improved financial management skills

For each of these factors, Gundersen considered the evidence regarding its efficacy in reducing food insecurity, and how each of these can be enhanced by the actions of foundations, food banks, policymakers, program administrators and advocates.

“Beginning with my work at the Economic Research Service of the USDA, I have studied the causes and consequences of food insecurity in the United States,” said Craig Gundersen, now a professor of Agricultural and Consumer Economics at the University of Illinois. “However, this is the first time I have been asked to look at the literature through the lens of what is most effective for funders, advocates, and policymakers to invest in to move the dial on food insecurity.”

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