Thursday 25.11. at 10.05-11:20

Chair: Virva Tuomala, Hanken School of Economics, Finland

Food Aid Modality Selection Problem

Feyza Sahinyazan, Simon Fraser University, Canada
Marie-Eve Rancourt, HEC Montreal, Canada
Vedat Verter, Michigan State University, United States

Humanitarian logistics
Food aid
Cash and vouchers
Bilevel optimization

Aid agencies implement food aid programs to alleviate chronic hunger. These agencies can choose direct, in-kind distribution of
food commodities, or they can provide cash or vouchers. To determine which aid modality to use for distributing aid,
organizations currently use decision trees or other guidelines. In this study, we present a novel mathematical formulation to
determine the optimal approach for allocating modalities and quantities of aid to beneficiaries, while also considering the
beneficiaries’ needs and preferences. This also enables aid agencies to estimate the benefits of their programs for all stakeholders (i.e., beneficiaries, local retailers, and the organization) and help them design more tailored programs. The proposed model has three objectives to assess potential solutions: program costs, beneficiaries’ nutrition levels, and economic contributions to the local economy. The beneficiaries’ consumption behavior is incorporated into the model through a bilevel optimization structure to capture and prevent inefficient cash use by beneficiaries. We validate the model using data from the World Food Programme’s operations in Garissa County, Kenya. We analyze how robustly our solution handles possible variations in different cost parameters, including food commodity prices and operational costs. Finally, we demonstrate how to use the model to evaluate policies intended to improve program outcomes, such as educating beneficiaries about nutrition or fortifying grains available locally. Our results show that a modality’s effectiveness depends on the population and market characteristics, and no modality should be presumed superior to another without in-depth analyses.

Revealing behavioural risks of Food ATMs in the Bidi Bidi refugee settlement: An agent-based approach

Daan van Beek, Delft University of Technology, Netherlands
Mikhail Sirenko, Delft University of Technology, Netherlands
Tina Comes, Delft University of Technology, Netherlands

Food ATM
Food distribution
Refugee settlement

Current top-down and large-scale food distribution solutions in temporary and refugee settlements pose unacceptable problems
for already vulnerable populations. Bottom-up distribution methods such as Food ATMs promise to be part of the solution. Food
ATMs provide flexibility allowing for changing consumer demands and individual needs, but also pose a potential risk for the
stability of the supply chain and thereby food security. The absence of proper assessment could cause a major disruption,
prohibiting the possibility of future adoption of bottom-up methods. We built a spatially explicit agent-based model (ABM) where agents represent households of the Bidi Bidi refugee settlement, which make use of a system of Food ATMs for their food supply. The model’s goal is to evaluate the performance of different policies on the system that is used by the population with different behaviours, ranging from rational to panic-buying. Three investigated, conventional policies can have limited, or even adverse, effects on food security. The two variants of rerouting policy divert households to another facility to reduce local pressure, but also acts as a new trigger of anxiety at the receiving facility. Uncapacitated design aligns facility size with expected demand. As a consequence of some facilities’ inherently smaller size, the overall anxiety levels are higher.

Our research reveals risks that emerge as a result of implementing a novel food distribution system and provides a starting point
for designing effective policy against these risks. We show that conventional policies might not be an effective strategy against
adverse consequences of nonlinear complex systems that include human behaviour.

Multi-modal food assistance in urban areas

Hannah Bakker, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Germany
Florian Diehlmann, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Germany
Stefan Nickel, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Germany
Frank Schultmann, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Germany
Marcus Wiens, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Germany

Coverage Location
Points of Distribution
Multi-modal Assistance

Consistently operating supermarkets are critical to uphold public food supply in urban areas. The occurrences during the first
weeks of the COVID-19 pandemic gave a glimpse of the turmoil even minor supply shortages may cause. Meanwhile, other slowonset crises like hyperinflation or cyberattacks also pose a threat to supermarkets’ performance. In such crisis situations, public authorities need to compensate for the shortfall of the private supermarkets’ supply. A typical public sector response to such a crisis is the installation of Points of Distribution (PoDs), where beneficiaries can go and receive vital goods. Particularly in urban areas, pre-positioning and maintaining a sufficient number of facilities that remain nonfunctional until a crisis occurs is not practical. Thus, authorities must take immediate action and determine where to operate PoDs to compensate upcoming shortages best. Moreover, decision-makers usually have multiple distribution strategies at their disposal, e.g., direct deliveries of food kits or the distribution of food vouchers. We propose the Multi-Modal Urban Food Assistance Model, a mathematical program that assists authorities in identifying the most effective mix of distribution strategies to ensure public food supply. It identifies suitable locations and capacities for PoDs, which must lie within a maximum distance of beneficiaries’ households while weighing in the alternative distribution modes that prove to be more efficient in less populated suburban areas.
We test our model in a comprehensive case study based in Berlin, Germany. We thereby evaluate the added value of the individual delivery and capacity options under different scenarios.

The food supply chain resilience and networks capabilities responding to disruptions:
The food aid in Finland

Jana Abikova, Hanken School of Economics, HUMLOG Institute, Finland
Elvira Kaneberg, Jönköping University, Sweden & HUMLOG Institute, Finland
Wojciech Piotrowicz, Hanken School of Economics, HUMLOG Institute, Finland

Food Supply Chain
Food aid
Dynamic Capabilities
COVID-19 Pandemic

The global pandemic caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus affected humans’ life around the globe in many ways. People who have
faced difficulties already before the COVID-19 pandemic struck were disproportionally caught in a hopeless situation. In this
regard, the case of Finland is due to its characteristic fragmentation of the food aid system and the absence of food banks’
federation, as observed in several other European countries, particularly interesting to study. Food aid distributors represent a
major supply chain subject in the food aid sector distributing donated and purchased groceries to people in need. The case study
by primary data gained through interviews with food aid distributors operating in several regions in Finland (Helsinki, Espoo,
and Tampere) revealed strengths and weaknesses centred on a growing number of people in need of food aid due to the pandemic when new groups appeared. The COVID-19 pandemic brought new challenges and difficulties to every single actor in the food aid system. With the purpose to analyse the network’s role in the food supply chain, the network dynamic capability was analysed in their ability to meet disruptions and for improving resilience. One main conclusion of this study concerns the food aid distributors that had to deal with the high numbers of customers, lower volume of food, or fear that they will be forced to shut their activities down in case of the virus occurrence.