Salvation Army foodbanks have an early Christmas present from the Countdown supermarket chain.
Countdown's 158 supermarkets have agreed to give the foodbanks all their waste packaged food which is nearing its use-by date.
Each store will also give $150 of groceries to their local Salvation Army centres for Christmas.
Salvation Army spokesman Major Robbie Ross said it would make a big difference to the church's 60 outlets which give out food in various ways.
"They have had ad hoc relationships with supermarkets across the country, but we have been working with Countdown to formalise this nationally," he said.
"Across the country in different places there is a shortage, particularly at this time of year. Christmas is always one of those times we are going to require a lot more food."
Countdown spokesman Luke Schepen said the deal covered only dry goods and general merchandise but could extend eventually to perishable goods such as bread, dairy products and fresh fruit and vegetables.
"Some stores have donated produce and perishable food to pig farms, and that will continue," he said.
Auckland City Mission and the Food and Grocery Council are working on a possible scheme to collect food directly from manufacturers and deliver it to all foodbanks as required.
Auckland City Missioner Diane Robertson said a similar scheme operated in Australia through Foodbank Australia.
"They have a national distribution system that says, 'We have six loads of beans,' and they can say, 'It needs to go to these three places'," she said.
"It's a matter of the organisations having enough infrastructure in terms of storage and refrigerated trucks. It needs a much bigger infrastructure than any of the agencies have here."
She said a partnership of charities, industry and central or local government would be needed.
Foodbank Australia lists 29 sponsors on its website, including the ANZ Bank, Microsoft, accounting firm KPMG, hotel chains, transport and storage companies, government agencies and the Australian Food and Grocery Council.