THE MEAL DEFICIT METRIC PROJECT: Measuring Missing Meals at a Granular Level Across Florida

Imagine dividing the state of Florida into more than 11,400 small pieces and statistically predicting “hunger totals” for each one. This is exactly what The Meal Deficit Metric Project accomplishes across Florida. The Meal Deficit Metric (MDM) is a unique model developed by Mari Gallagher Research & Consulting Group and commissioned by Feeding Florida, the premier statewide association of food banks. The MDM accounts for all households regardless of income, all government food subsidies, all food bank support, and all help from friends and family. The number of net missing meals in Florida is 880 million per year, much higher than previously reported. If the Meal Deficit burden was distributed equally across the state, the yearly total is equivalent to each man, woman, and child in Florida missing 41 meals per year. If all the meals were missed at one time, this would mean every Floridian going for two straight weeks without any kind of food. The MDM takes the stereotypes and guesswork out of directing food relief to households in need.

Download the MDM EXECUTIVE SUMMARY here.

We are grateful to Feeding Florida, and especially its Executive Director, Robin Safley, for their game-changing leadership in using evidence-based information to quantify, pinpoint, and solve hunger. As a united, committed, and focused voice, Feeding Florida advocates for those who go hungry, and as an effective anti-hunger network, it provides food directly to families in need through their own facilities and through 2,300-plus local charitable agencies.

Learn more about Feeding Florida’s team and programs.


Do not reduce file size as it will compromise quality. This very large file consists of a set of high-resolution maps, one for each Florida county, with the exception of Monroe County (two maps were required for clarity). Maps show the average household weekly Meal Deficit (the number of meals missed because people cannot afford them) at a granular level (block groups). The Meal Deficit Metric accounts for all Florida households, regardless of income, and nets out all ways that households might acquire food: government food subsidies (such as the Supplemental Assistance Nutrition Program or SNAP and subsidized school meals), local food banks and pantries, and even food support from family and friends (see Executive Summary for more details). These maps are designed to be viewed on a computer using a program that can read PDF files, not printed. The viewer can increase the “percentage shown” number (usually located at the top of the PDF) to enlarge features. Each viewer’s display quality depends on the PDF software used for viewing. Older PDF software might take longer to load. Should a page appear incomplete or show a line running through it, simply use your mouse to click on that page and it should reformat.

Download the MAP APPENDIX here.


#1 All Faiths Food Bank #2 Second Harvest of the Big Bend, Inc. #3 Bread of the Mighty #4 Feeding Northeast Florida #5 Feeding South Florida #6 Feeding the Gulf Coast #7 First Step Food Bank #8 Florida Gateway Food Bank #9 Harry Chapin Food Bank of Southwest Florida #10 Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida #11 Feeding Tampa Bay #12 Treasure Coast Food Bank