2022 Statewide Food Shelf Survey

About the Minnesota Food Shelf Survey


The Minnesota Food Shelf Survey is administered through the University of Minnesota Extension and the Foundation for Essential Needs, in partnership with the Department of Human Services (DHS), Hunger Solutions, and SuperShelf. 


This survey takes place every 2-3 years throughout the state of Minnesota, to understand satisfaction among clients and general trends in food shelf use, in order to improve the experience for clients and better meet their needs. In July and August 2022, shoppers will be able to complete the survey confidentially and anonymously, on paper or electronically. The survey takes approximately 10 minutes to complete. The aggregate results of this survey are used by many stakeholders, and each food shelf location that receives completed survey responses from at least 10 clients will receive their specific results after the survey is complete, in late 2022.


Benefits for Participating Food Shelves

  • Receive prepared survey materials to implement the survey

  • Receive an individualized Food Shelf Report with feedback from your clients

  • Be entered into a drawing for a $500 food credit at your food bank

  • Be part of a unique opportunity to inform broader hunger relief priorities and investments!





2022 Food Shelf Surveys: Timeline of Events

  • August 1 through September 23: Survey Collection Timeframe

    • Your food shelf will be mailed and emailed all the information that you need. 

    • Food Shelf Client surveys will be offered on paper and electronically.

  • Week of August 15 - Food Shelf specific Manager Survey links will be sent out electronically starting the week of August 15th. For 2022, the Food Shelf Manager Survey will be 100% electronic.

Resources for Food Shelves


Documents and Resources

Food Shelf Client Survey Materials


Print these materials as needed for your food shelf, or contact info@ffen.org and we'll send you additional survey materials. If you print additional copies of the survey, please write your food shelf location name and site code in the upper right corner of the survey.


If you have surveys to mail back, please send them to:

University of Minnesota Extension

Attn: Emily Becher 

495 Coffey Hall 

1420 Eckles Ave 

St. Paul, MN 55108


Please send in all completed surveys by September 23.

SURVEYS are available in the following languages available for you to download and print:

​Additional Materials and Resources 


Helpful videos to answer many of your questions!

Food Shelf Manager Survey

Food shelf managers were emailed their survey on August 15. If you did not receive a survey, or if the wrong person at your organization received it, please email info@ffen.org with your food shelf name, to request a survey. Deadline to respond is September 23.


Questions? Contact us!

Call/Text: 612-524-9360        Email: info@ffen.org


All institutions are equal opportunity providers and employers. For more information about USDA non-discrimination policy or to inquire about filing a complaint, go to http://z.umn.edu/u76.


The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) provides nutrition assistance to people with low income. It can help you buy nutritious foods for a better diet. To find out more, contact the MN Food Help Line at 1-888-711-1151.


This resource was funded in part by USDA’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program – SNAP-Ed – with funds received from and through the Minnesota Department of Human Services.

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Individual Food Shelf Survey Results were sent to participating agencies in summer 2020.



It is important as readers of this 2019 survey to note that these data were collected prior to the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) pandemic and do not reflect the potential impacts of COVID-19 on food shelf clients in 2020. Evidence from national data suggests that food insecurity has increased since the start of the pandemic*.

  • The "Top 5" foods remain more important than ever during the current economic and health crisis because they are higher nutritional value and more expensive.

  • Providing a welcoming environment is even more important to help people, especially first time food shelf users, feel comfortable asking for help, given the increased need many people are finding themselves in due to COVID-19.

  • A choice-based food distribution model (in whatever degree possible while also maintaining COVID-19 safety protocols) allows clients to choose foods that are important to them with dignity and respect.

*Schanzenbach, D. W., & A. Pitts. (2020). How much has food insecurity risen? Evidence from the Census Household Pulse Survey. Institute for Policy Research Rapid Research Report. https://www.ipr.northwestern.edu/documents/reports/ipr-rapid-researchreports-pulse-hh-data-10-june-2020.pdf


Key Takeaways from the 2019 Statewide Food Shelf Client Survey 

  • Healthy foods, including fresh fruits and veggies, continue to be in demand and clients know how to prepare them. 

  • The “Top 5” foods clients told us they wanted in 2019 are meat and other proteins, fresh fruits and vegetables, dairy, eggs, and cooking and baking supplies; which are the same top 5 foods that clients requested in 2017. These foods are often available, but not frequently enough; there is still more work to be done to provide them reliably.

  • A good client experience is about more than just providing food, it also means providing services in a welcoming and dignified manner. Providing a positive client experience is an area that needs further improvement. 

  • Despite the great work happening in the hunger relief sector today, clients still face significant food insecurity and need to make budget trade-offs between food & other basic needs. 

Curious to recall what clients said in 2017? Read that report below!