The Co-Operative Food to donate 1 million meals
The Co-Operative Food has announced its plans to roll out donations of food to the charity FareShare across the country in a move which could see it donating over 500 tonnes in 2016
The Co-Operative initially trialled donating excess stock from one of its depots to the charity FareShare earlier this year. It resulted in an estimated 32 tonnes of fresh and chilled food including yoghurt, fruit, meat and ready meals being donated to the charity. With this success they have decided the time is right to expand the programme nationwide.
FareShare which was originally started as part of the Homeless charity Crisis in 1994 helps to tackle food waste by redistributing good quality excess stock to community groups and local charities to help vulnerable people. Fresh food is a particular concern for charities such as local food banks, which generally have to rely on canned and dry products due to health and safety concerns, as well as a simple lack of fresh food donations. FareShare’s mission is to alleviate this shortfall, as well as to combat waste within the food and retail industry. They estimate that last year alone they managed to save 7493 tonnes of food from going to waste and produce 16.92 million meals.
The extra 500 tonnes of food that the Co-Op estimates it will be able to donate will provide a welcome bump to FareShare’s already impressive redistribution network and of course to increase the number of people that they are able to help support.
Only around 1.3% of food waste currently comes from the retail sector, and this is already where possible recycled in the form of green energy via anaerobic digestion. However Steve Murrells, the Chief Executive for Retail for the Co-Operative has said that in addition to the huge human benefit there will be further environmental gains from redirecting the waste back into the food chain and “feeding people first as was intended.”