Fareshare truck loading

A surge in donations from retailers has seen the amount of food being redistributed by the FareShare charity more than double in the past two years.

FareShare UK said it had redistributed 2,952.08 tonnes of food from April to August 2014, the equivalent of more than seven million meals, compared with 1,372.28 tonnes (3.3 million meals) in 2012.

This year’s haul included more than 700 tonnes of fruit and vegetables that would otherwise have gone into anaerobic digestion, animal feed or been wasted - an increase of nearly 200% on 2012.

FareShare said the increase had come on the back of strategic partnerships with Asda, Sainsbury’s and Tesco.

“I think we are seeing the beginnings of a big cultural shift in the food and drink industry,” said Fareshare CEO Lindsay Boswell. “My call to arms is to ask more of the industry to work even harder.”

Sainsbury’s is the longest-running supermarket partner of the charity, with a relationship going back to 1994.

Tesco started working with FareShare in 2012 and has committed to twice-yearly Neighbourhood Food Collections. The most recent, in July, resulted in 5.1 million meals being donated.

Asda now distributes chilled surplus food to FareShare regional centres across the country.

As well as the supermarkets, FareShare has also worked with suppliers such as Kellogg’s, Dorset Cereals, Jordans-Ryvita and Nestlé. One of the biggest increases it has seen is a 310% hike in the amount of breakfast food redistributed since 2012, amounting to 80 tonnes in the first five months of this year.

In total, the amount of food received by the charity from the food industry has increased to more than 5,500 tonnes a year.