Title: Modelling the problem of food distribution by the Portuguese food banks

Authors: Isabel Martins, Tania Guedes, Paula Rama, Joao Ramos, Tatiana Tchemisova

Addresses: Departamento de Ciencias e Engenharia de Biossistemas and Centro de Investigacao Operacional, Instituto Superior de Agronomia, Technical University of Lisbon, 1349-017 Lisboa, Portugal. ' Department of Mathematics, University of Aveiro, 3810-193 Aveiro, Portugal. ' Department of Mathematics and CIDMA, University of Aveiro, 3810-193 Aveiro, Portugal. ' Department of Mathematics, University of Aveiro, 3810-193 Aveiro, Portugal. ' Department of Mathematics and CIDMA, University of Aveiro, 3810-193 Aveiro, Portugal

Abstract: A food bank is a non-profit, social solidarity organisation that typically distributes the donated food among a wide variety of local non-profit, social solidarity institutions which in turn feed the low-income people. The problem presented by the Portuguese Federation of Food Banks is to determine, for a specific food bank, the quantities of the donated products that must be assigned to each local social solidarity institution in order to satisfy the needs of the supported people as much as possible, without favouring any institution. We propose a linear programming model followed by a rounding heuristic to obtain a solution to the problem described. Computational results are reported.

Keywords: linear programming; heuristics; integer programming; Portugal; modelling; food distribution; food banks; donated food.

DOI: 10.1504/IJMMNO.2011.040795

International Journal of Mathematical Modelling and Numerical Optimisation, 2011 Vol.2 No.3, pp.313 - 341

Published online: 26 Jun 2011 *

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