Food redistribution charity FareShare has revealed it smashed the record for surplus food received from food and drink companies in December, but was still unable to meet demand from volunteers feeding those in food poverty.

FareShare told The Grocer it had received almost 3,300 tonnes of surplus food during the month from retailers and suppliers, the equivalent of nearly eight million meals. However, the figure still fell well short of what was needed to tackle hunger, it said.

The figures follow FareShare’s warning last month that despite receiving more than 49,000 tonnes of good-to-eat surplus food from the food industry in 2022, it was struggling to cope with demand due to soaring levels of food poverty amid the cost of living crisis.

In October, it released a survey showing demand for food had increased among 90% of the charities it serves, with 30% seeing demand for food double because of the economic crisis.

The charity has appealed for £25m government funding to cover the cost of allowing small-scale farmers and growers to redistribute food.

“This December FareShare received the highest amount of food since records began, thanks to the tireless efforts of our staff, volunteers, and the charities we support working throughout the festive period to get food to people most impacted by the cost of living crisis,” said FareShare director of food Simon Millard.

“Despite this, we still don’t have enough food to meet the skyrocketing demand, and people across the UK are still struggling to afford to eat. Yet the equivalent of almost seven billion meals worth of food goes to waste every year that could be redistributed through FareShare.”

Meanwhile, Swedish online supermarket Motatos has revealed it has saved nearly 400 tonnes of food from going to waste since its UK operation launched in June.

Motatos sells ambient food and fmcg products that might otherwise go to waste because of changes to packaging specification or a short remaining shelf life.

It sells lines from big brands such as Heinz, Cadbury, Kellogg’s, Walkers and Typhoo, and claims to be able to offer savings of up to 60% compared with other supermarkets.

Launched in Sweden in 2014, Motatos also operates in Germany, Finland and Denmark.

“We’re starting to see a shift in how we’re approaching food waste in the UK and globally,” said founder Karl Andersson. “In 2022 we saw supermarkets start to tackle the issue by removing ‘best before’ dates on packaging, encouraging consumers to consider whether their food is OK to eat rather than assuming it isn’t because of what it says on the label.

“All of this is great to see but there is still an unnecessary amount of food ending up in landfill.”