The Nutritious Supply Chain: Optimizing Humanitarian Food Aid

Koen Peters, Hein Fleuren, Dick den Hertog, Mirjana Kavelj, Sergio Silva, Rui Goncalves, Ozlem Ergun, Mallory Soldner

Research output: Working paperDiscussion paperOther research output

1270 Downloads (Pure)


The UN World Food Programme (WFP) is the largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger worldwide, reaching around 80 million people with food assistance in 75 countries each year. To deal with the operational complexities inherent to its mandate, WFP has been developing tools to assist their decision makers with integrating the supply chain decisions across departments and functional areas. This paper describes a mixed integer linear programming model that simultaneously optimizes the food basket to be delivered, the sourcing plan, the routing plan, and the transfer modality of a long-term recovery operation for each month in a pre-defined time horizon. By connecting traditional supply chain elements to nutritional objectives, we made significant breakthroughs in the operational excellence of WFP's most complex operations, such as Iraq and Yemen. We show how we used optimization to reduce the operational costs in Iraq by 17%, while still supplying 98% of the nutritional targets. Additionally, we show how we are using optimization in Yemen to manage the scale-up of the existing operation from three to six million beneficiaries.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationTilburg
PublisherCentER, Center for Economic Research
Number of pages30
Publication statusPublished - 28 Nov 2016

Publication series

NameCentER Discussion Paper


  • supply chain
  • nutrition
  • MILP
  • humanitarian logistics
  • WFP


Dive into the research topics of 'The Nutritious Supply Chain: Optimizing Humanitarian Food Aid'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this