In response to New Zealand’s growing food insecurity problem (greatly exacerbated by COVID-19) a proposal for a national food network to act as an efficient end-to-end supply chain for surplus food, was put to the Ministry of Social Development.  

We were engaged to understand and capture the value of New Zealand Food Network services by developing an Impact Framework and Impact Measurement Plan.  

The Challenge:  

New Zealand Food Network (NZFN) was established in April 2020. It’s purpose is to collect quality surplus and donated bulk food from producers, growers and wholesalers around NZ and distribute it to food rescue organisations and charities so they may feed the communities they serve.   

Currently, NZFN collaborates with 61 Food Hubs across the country. While their one-stop shop model improves supply chain efficiency through standardised processes, the organisation must remain adaptable to cater for the cultural, geographical, and organisational differences of its Food Hubs and their communities.  

Since its inception, NZFN’s services have grown significantly. Its leadership team sought to measure the social and environmental impact of food waste prevention and redirection to inform investment priorities, to support advocacy for funding, and to tell an evidence-based impact story.  

The Solution:

ImpactInstitute developed an Impact Framework and Impact Measurement plan to assess the social and environmental outcomes of NZFN’s services, and identify outcome indicators to measure their value.  

The process involved: 

  • A literature review 
  • An analysis of NZFN strategy documents, internal reports, and data  
  • Conducting an intuitive Impact Framework with NZFN leadership team 
  • Conducting interviews with subject matter experts, food donors, food rescue organisations and charities, food recipients 
  • Conducting focus groups with food rescue organisations and charities and NZFN staff 


The Impact Framework, organised by stakeholder group, included the environment, food donors, Food Hubs, food recipients and the broader community.

The interrelation between different stakeholders’ outcomes and impact demonstrated the role of NZFN as a critical piece of social infrastructure.   

The Impact Measurement plan focused on the impact on food recipients’ wellbeing. It consisted of a mixed-methods measurement approach which included:  

  • 6-monthly routine operational survey to effectively collect quantitative data   
  • 6-months and 12-months follow up interviews with self-selected participants to gather in-depth understanding of the long-term change of food support services.   

Furthermore, given NZFN’s unique position in the food rescue supply chain in New Zealand, ImpactInstitute provided strategic recommendations to implement a national data collection system for the food rescue and support sector. Its purpose is to continuously improve the effectiveness of service provision to the benefit of people in need.  

ImpactInstitute delivered beyond our expectations. Great people, great empathy for our cause and professional across the board. Would highly recommend their services.

- Gavin Findlay