A government fund created in response to The Grocer’s Waste Not Want Not campaign is being used to provide 80,000 meals for vulnerable people.
Food producer Greenyard Frozen is tapping a £15m scheme launched by Defra last year to help redistribution organisations.
It has allowed Greenyard to set up a new production line dedicated to the charity FareShare, which will mean the equivalent of 80,000 meals from frozen purple carrots headed for waste to instead help groups served by the charity.
The carrots will be redistributed through FareShare’s network of frontline charities, including homeless hostels, older people’s lunch clubs and community centres, as part of its Surplus with Purpose funding.
Greenyard said it realised redundant quantities of carrots could be packaged up and used to feed vulnerable people, and was able to set up a separate packaging production line for the excess produce because of the funding, which covered additional processing and labour costs.
The frozen purple carrots, which taste identical to orange carrots, are being packed in plain bags before being sent to FareShare to be distributed to charities and community groups.
FareShare said frozen vegetables meant it could provide the people it supports with a more varied and healthy menu. It could also help with their meal planning as the carrots come chopped, cutting down prep time for charity cooks.
“Wrap estimates over two million tonnes of edible surplus food goes to waste each year within the UK supply chain alone – yet at the same time, over eight million people struggle to put food on the table,” said FareShare CEO Lindsay Boswell.
“By accessing FareShare’s Surplus with Purpose fund, Greenyard Frozen are doing the right thing with their surplus veg – getting it onto the plates of people who need it.”
Laura Dixon, customer service manager at Greenyard Frozen, said: ”We’ve worked with FareShare for many years whereby they’ve helped us redistribute excess packed stock from our business to those in need.
“But what was different about this campaign was that by using the government grant, we were able to pack stock specifically for FareShare which was in bulk storage within our business. It was a real game changer and has opened the door for us to increase our support to FareShare in the future.”
The £3m FareShare Surplus with Purpose fund, part of the wider Defra funding, is open to new companies, as well as companies already working with FareShare that would like to redistribute additional surplus food. It can also be used to unlock harder-to-reach surplus food, such as food found further up the supply chain.
Companies could be eligible for up to £50,000 in funding, which can cover additional staff costs needed for packing and sorting, as well as building and implementing new processes, packaging and transportation costs, or lost income from the sale of surplus to animal feed or anaerobic digestion.
In December, The Grocer revealed duck and poultry supplier Gressingham Foods had diverted 2,000 surplus frozen turkeys to FareShare under the scheme.
The Grocer’s Waste Not Want Not campaign lobbied government for a £15m subsidy to level the playing field against other food surplus disposal schemes. A petition, which The Grocer launched at 10 Downing Street in November 2017, was signed by over 16,000 signatories, and led to Michael Gove, then Defra secretary of state, announcing the scheme in October 2018.