Retailers and suppliers have increased their donations to the UK’s leading food redistribution charity by more than a third in the past year, new figures have revealed.
FareShare told The Grocer it received 7,360 tonnes of food that might otherwise have been destined for landfill or used as energy in 2014, up 33% from 5,533 tonnes in 2013. The food was used to provide more than 15 million meals to charities and community projects.
FareShare said 40% of the food it received was from retailers’ supply chains, adding that growing partnerships with Asda, Sainsbury’s and Tesco, as well as growing awareness among suppliers, was beginning to turn the tide on surplus food redistribution in the UK.
“We have been able to provide more food than ever to the charities and community organisations we support,” said FareShare CEO Lindsay Boswell. “All of those big three supermarkets have put aside individual competition to do the right thing, against an incredibly difficult market backdrop.”
On the supplier side, Refresco Gerber, Kellogg’s and Nestlé were the biggest contributors to FareShare last year. Boswell urged others to up their efforts. “We still estimate that even with this 33% increase, just 2% of the food that is fit for human consumption that is surplus to requirements gets re-distributed,” he said.
In 2014, FareShare redistributed enough for 15.3 million meals - supporting 1,923 charities and community projects, a 48% year-on-year rise - with 149,000 people getting food each week.
Despite this, the UK still has a relatively poor record compared with other countries, with France redistributing roughly 20 times more.
In January, Wrap and the BRC revealed the grocery industry was wasting 200,000 tonnes of food a year.