Stocking Farm opening day (1)

Leading food redistribution operators have released new figures showing the scale of the challenge facing them over Christmas.

Surplus food redistributor Company Shop said it expected to handle a minimum of 12,000 tonnes of food across the festive and new year period.

Despite inflation easing, it pointed to recent reports from KPMG suggesting a third of consumers would be spending less on their Christmas groceries this year. Company Shop said it was likely to leave retailers and manufacturers with excess stock even before the Christmas peak time was over.

To reduce the amount of wasted food, Company Shop is urging retailers and manufacturers to assess what products are already destined to become surplus and to consider routes for redistribution as early as possible.

In the past three years, Company Shop has redistributed over 500,000 turkeys, 100 miles’ worth of wrapping paper, and almost 1.3 million mince pies.

“The festive trading period is an incredibly important time for retailers and manufacturers, as well as being a special occasion for families across the UK,” said Company Shop Group MD Owen McLellan.

“Given our unique position as both a retailer and the UK’s largest redistributor, we are proud to be supporting thousands of families to access high-quality, low-cost products which help stretch budgets over the festive season and beyond.

“To help stop unnecessary waste over the trading period, alongside providing financial returns, we are urging retailers and manufacturers to consider where stock can be best utilised through redistribution, both during but most importantly after the Christmas period itself.”

Meanwhile, food redistribution charity FareShare has released figures suggesting women are bearing the brunt of the cost of living hunger crisis.

Figures from its survey of over 2,500 peole across the UK showed that 75% of those accessing the charity for help were women.

CEO George Wright said: “This survey paints a stark picture of a crisis that shows no signs of easing. The fact that almost eight out of 10 people accessing food from FareShare via local charities are women is staggering.

“We can clearly see that the food FareShare redistributes is having a substantial social impact. Charities across the UK are turning food into much-needed community support and giving people a vital hand up.

“However, as the festive season approaches, we know that many of these women and their families will continue to struggle, potentially facing loneliness and isolation because of food insecurity.”