Helen Davies, Partnership Manager at FareShare
Food waste is a growing issue, with 2m tonnes of good-to-eat food going to waste every year across the food industry. All of this food is wasted while 7m people struggle to get enough to eat – and with the cost of living crisis, even more people are facing food poverty.
At FareShare we work with almost 10,000 charities and community groups across the UK, providing them with good to eat surplus food from across the food industry that might otherwise be wasted. Our work also helps tackle the growing impact of food waste on the environment – at least 8% of global CO2 emissions.
Most of the charities we work with use food as a means to connect with people in their community and provide wider services that tackle the underlying challenges they’re facing, including addiction, homelessness and financial challenges. Many charities tell us that without FareShare food they would not be able to run these life-saving services.
Good food should be eaten. It is academically proven to be the most planet friendly way to deal with surplus food. We are lucky to work with a range of partners to help ensure any surplus food that cannot be sold reaches the people that need it most. In this way we turn an environmental problem into social support – at a time when it is never more needed.
FareShare Go is a service we developed in 2015 connecting supermarkets and restaurants to local charities and community groups and alerting them to food available at the end of the day.
Our technology partner, FoodCloud – also a charity – created the Foodiverse app to help us ensure no good food goes to waste. If a charity is unable to collect the food offered, the app will look for an approved charity to take their place. Using this technology also means we can track the food that has been redistributed, providing assurance and traceability for food partners, along with stats to showcase impact on a national, regional and local level.
The programme is now live in 4,000 outlets and we redistribute the equivalent of 750,000 meals weekly through it.
Much of the food available tends to be fresh fruit and veg, bakery and small amounts of dairy, so when KFC approached us last year to help redistribute their surplus chicken we jumped at the chance. KFC food complements the types of items that our charities are already collecting from supermarkets and, because it is blast-frozen before being donated, means our charities can keep it in the freezer for up to a month.
The process is really quick and easy for both the restaurants and the charities involved. Restaurants blast freeze, bag and label their unsold cooked chicken and then, using the Foodiverse app, notify their charities of what is available.
We ran a hugely successful trial with KFC in five restaurants located in the Midlands over four months and the feedback we received from charities was incredibly positive. The programme is now live in a further 15 restaurants – 20 in total – in the North-East and Essex, with plans to activate most of KFC’s 1,000 restaurants by the end of 2022. Since the beginning of the trial period, the equivalent of more than 27,000 meals have been redistributed to 22 local charity and community groups.
This is our first venture into frozen food through FareShare Go, meaning we’ve been able to diversify what we can offer to our network of charities and community groups.
We’re delighted to be working with KFC. By demonstrating that a product like cooked chicken can be redistributed safely and to such great effect, we hope that many more foodservice businesses will get in touch with FareShare as the solution for helping them to reduce food waste and tackle hunger across the UK. Do please get in touch if you’d like to discuss how we can ensure your surplus doesn’t go to waste. [email protected]