FareShare, the UK’s largest charity fighting hunger and food waste, redistributes surplus food to frontline charities and community groups that support vulnerable people.
And there is no excuse not to be involved as last October the government announced that a £15m fund will be made available to offset the cost of diverting surplus food within the supply chain to charities.
The numbers are staggering:
- At least 250,000 tonnes of fit for consumption food is wasted by the UK food industry every year – that’s the equivalent of 650 million meals
- FareShare manages just 6 per cent of the edible surplus food available
- 4 million people in the UK struggle to afford a meal – equivalent to the entire population of London
- 3 million people are destitute, which means they cannot afford essentials such as food
- FareShare supports close to 10,000 charities and community groups with food, which equates to 772,390 people fed each week across 1,500 towns and cities in the UK
- 93 per cent of people say having a meal through FareShare’s community network helps them face the day ahead
- On top of that, any wasted food that ends up in the landfill produces methane – a greenhouse gas that contributes to global warming. By diverting surplus food to good causes, FareShare saved an estimated 58 million kg of CO2 last year.
An interesting stat is that supermarkets account for just 1 per cent of surplus food, while the supply chain contributes 49 per cent. The remaining 50 per cent comes from people’s homes.
Jon Shayler, chief operating officer at Erudus, said
“Surplus food happens for a myriad of reasons including packaging errors, seasonal stocks, damages, deleted lines, and incorrect forecasting.
“I personally didn’t realise the scale of the food poverty issue in the UK until I spoke with the FareShare team, and the majority of people reading this article will have been involved in a situation which has resulted in food waste.
“I’m urging everyone to next time, think of FareShare.”
Alyson Walsh, commercial director at FareShare, which has 21 regional centres across the UK, said:
“We believe no good food should go to waste and are calling on manufacturers, wholesalers, and caterers to work together to save food and change lives.
“The charities and community groups we work with range from lunch clubs for older people and breakfast clubs for disadvantaged children, to homeless hostels and domestic violence refuges. The difference the food makes to those people is incredible.
“The waste hierarchy, which sets out how organisations should deal with surplus food, has been incorporated into UK law through The Waste (England and Wales) Regulations 2011 and the Waste (Scotland) Regulations. At the very top of the list is to ensure it’s eaten by people.
“We would love to speak to food companies who are interested in finding out more about how they can work with FareShare.”
“Planning for surplus food is virtually impossible. It’s a fact of life that it happens, often for reasons outside of our control. The single most important action you can take is calling FareShare.”