A1 Journal article (refereed)
Charitable food aid in Finland : from a social issue to an environmental solution (2019)

Tikka, V. (2019). Charitable food aid in Finland : from a social issue to an environmental solution. Agriculture and Human Values, 36(2), 341-352. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10460-019-09916-3

The research was funded by Strategic Research Council at the Research Council of Finland.

JYU authors or editors

Publication details

All authors or editorsTikka, Ville

Journal or seriesAgriculture and Human Values



Publication year2019


Issue number2

Pages range341-352

PublisherSpringer Netherlands

Publication countryNetherlands

Publication languageEnglish


Publication open accessOpenly available

Publication channel open accessPartially open access channel

Publication is parallel published (JYX)https://jyx.jyu.fi/handle/123456789/63982


Since the establishment of the first food bank in 1995, charitable food aid (CFA) has become entrenched in Finland as a seemingly irreplaceable solution to food poverty. Further, it has recently been suggested that the focus of food aid activities is shifting from food poverty and temporary hunger alleviation towards environmental sustainability through addressing food waste via organized re-distribution of expiring food from retail to charitable organizations. This potentially creates a mechanism that (1) solidifies food poverty and (2) fortifies the paradoxical situation where charitable organizations delivering food aid are dependent on food waste rather than trying to reduce it. To understand the process that has led to this shift, a longitudinal media data analysis on the evolution of the discussion and the interpretations on CFA is presented. By conducting an inductive frame analysis, the paper answers three key questions: How was CFA framed by and through the media in Finland between 1995 and 2016? Has any single frame dominated the discussion at any given point? Finally, what are the characteristics of the frame that focuses on food surplus redistribution? The results suggest that when the practices are framed as potential receivers and redistributors of surplus, perception of CFA is mainly favourable and the root causes for food insecurity are not addressed. Thus, by focusing on environmental sustainability, food aid practices—hitherto depoliticized as a poverty problem—have gained policy relevance in the discursive space of the circular economy; perhaps at the cost of poverty policy and with unintended consequences.

Keywordsfood aidcircular economyfood securityfood wastewelfare stateframe analysis

Free keywordscharitable food aid

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Ministry reportingYes

Reporting Year2019

JUFO rating1

Last updated on 2024-11-05 at 22:26