Food security

This collection of articles and multimedia draws together McKinsey’s thinking on food security. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect access to food for many, what can food banks, distribution partners, philanthropic foundations, and the private sector do to increase resilience and ensure that people across North America have reliable access to nutritious meals?

Spotlight: Social responsibility in action


Turning over a new leaf: Using crisis to build back stronger

– Nationwide, food banks seek to expand their services to address more than hunger; one Washington, DC, food bank is using the loss of its partner network to do just that.

Divide and conquer: How segmentation helps with food security

– To meet surging demand, one food bank created specific plans for separate food sources and drop-off sites in order to get resources into the community as fast as possible with a minimum of waste.

Making a difference with data: What it can mean for food banks

– Using data to forecast food insecurity helped one food bank prepare for the worst.

Transforming food banks’ warehouse operations to improve critical performance

– As the COVID-19 pandemic jeopardizes livelihoods as well as human health, there has never been a greater need for efficiency within food banks, on which more and more people depend. Warehousing activities offer room for real improvement.

Featured Insights


McKinsey for Kids: (Food) waste not, want not

– In this edition of McKinsey for Kids, see why throwing away food is a bigger problem than you think—and what McKinsey and others are doing to help reduce food waste so more people can fill their bellies.
Article - McKinsey Quarterly

Feeding the world sustainably

– Green technologies, biotech advances, and artificial intelligence could help tame agricultural emissions and waste, while safeguarding ocean resources.
Article - McKinsey Global Institute

Will the world’s breadbaskets become less reliable?

– The COVID-19 pandemic is exposing vulnerabilities in the global food system which could be compounded by climate change risks.

US food supply chain: Disruptions and implications from COVID-19

– Changes in consumer behavior continue to ripple through the US food and agricultural supply chains. What should companies do now?

From liability to opportunity: How to build food security and nourish growth

– How can public institutions, development agencies, investors, researchers, and producers work together to build a food sector that propels economic growth, meets demand, and helps to maintain social stability?

Featured interviews


Challenges and opportunities facing food banks under COVID-19

– Greater Chicago Food Depository CEO Kate Maehr looks back on 2020, the challenge of rising food insecurity, and ways the private sector can get involved.

How the charitable food system is adapting to life under the pandemic

– Feeding America COO Katie Fitzgerald reflects on how food banks have responded to challenges of COVID-19, and lessons learned in the process.

Food security and the coronavirus crisis: A view from Feeding America’s COO

– Katie Fitzgerald discusses the efforts of Feeding America, a national hunger-relief organization, to obtain and distribute food amid the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic.

Perspectives from other regions


Safeguarding Africa’s food systems through and beyond the crisis

– Here’s how governments and private-sector actors can respond to the impact of COVID-19 on African agriculture.

Food security in Japan: Building a strategy in an age of global competition

– The country faces a set of agricultural challenges in its move toward a more secure food supply, which can be addressed with a focus on five actions.

Harvesting golden opportunities in Indian agriculture: From food security to farmers’ income security by 2025

– Several megatrends may drive the next wave of growth in Indian agriculture. Focusing on a number of investible themes could enhance farmers' incomes and transform their quality of life.

A focus on value chains

Report - McKinsey Global Institute

Risk, resilience, and rebalancing in global value chains

– Companies need an understanding of their exposure, vulnerabilities, and potential losses to inform resilience strategies.

Agriculture sector: Preparing for disruption in the food value chain

– Four trends could profoundly influence the direction of the agriculture industry. Stakeholders, from farmers to governments, must take account of them in their planning.

Agriculture supply-chain optimization and value creation

– Digital and analytics technologies offer a way to create value by optimizing the supply chain in agriculture.

From our blog

Blog Post

Behind Roberto Uchoa’s work to fight hunger and strengthen food banks

– Meet a senior partner who helps food banks better serve their communities through analytics, reskilling, and more.
Blog Post

Pradeep Prabhala: Fighting hunger today and strengthening food security for the long term

– From the biotech design of food to the delivery of dinners, a partner shares how our firm is working to strengthen food... security.
Blog Post

Partnering with Rethink Food to create a more equitable U.S. food system

– With more Americans facing food insecurity, a McKinsey team based in New York City helped create a program to safely feed people... while keeping restaurants running.

Related insight

Opinion: Hunger in Washington state

In this Agri-Pulse op-ed, McKinsey’s Denise Cheung and Dilip Wagle look at the dynamics of food insecurity in Washington state in light of the COVID-19 crisis.

Where are vulnerable populations, including those who are experiencing food insecurity, located in the United States?

In this interactive map from McKinsey's Center for Societal Benefit through Healthcare, see where vulnerable populations are located and use data to inform solutions to address their needs.

Featured Experts

Senior Partner, Chicago

Roberto Uchoa

Partner, Minneapolis

David Fiocco

Partner, Miami

Ignacio Felix

Senior Partner, New York

Ramesh Srinivasan

Partner, Washington DC

Jessica P. Kahn

Partner, Washington DC

Pradeep Prabhala

Related Practices


Helping agriculture and food companies and systems navigate disruptive trends and technologies

Public & Social Sector

Improving the lives of citizens worldwide by helping solve the most pressing economic and social challenges