UN World Food Programme: Toward zero hunger with analytics

Koen Peters*, Sergio Silva, Tim Sergio Wolter, Luis Anjos, Nina van Ettekoven, Eric Combette, Anna Melchiori, H.A. Fleuren, Dick den Hertog, Ozlem Ergun

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


Each year, the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) provides food assistance to around 100 million people in more than 80 countries. Significant investments over the last decade have put planning and optimization at the forefront of tackling emergencies at WFP. A data-driven approach to managing operations has gradually become the norm and has culminated in the creation of a supply chain planning unit and savings of more than USD 150 million-enough to support two million food-insecure people for an entire year. In this paper, we describe three analytical solutions in detail: the Supply Chain Management Dashboard, which uses descriptive and predictive analytics to bring end-to end visibility and anticipate operational issues; Optimus, which uses a mixed-integer programming model to simultaneously optimize food basket composition and supply chain planning; and DOTS, which is a data integration platform that helps WFP automate and synchronize complex data flows. Three impact studies for Iraq, South Sudan, and COVID19 show how these tools have changed the way WFP manages its most complex operations. Through analytics, decision makers are now equipped with the insights they need to manage their operations in the best way, thereby saving and changing the lives of millions and bringing the world one step closer to zero hunger.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8-26
JournalInforms journal on applied analytics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • WFP
  • zero hunger
  • humanitarian logistics
  • analytics
  • multicriteria optimization
  • Edelman Award


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