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Collecting and redistributing food that would otherwise go to waste saves the UK economy around £51 million a year, according to a new report from food waste charity FareShare.

The Wasted Opportunity Report, carried out by NEF consulting, evaluates the economic and social value of redistributed surplus food, as well as the current and potential cost avoided by the UK public sector as a result of the charity’s work.

If found that by collecting food that would otherwise go to waste and redistributing it to charity and community groups, FareShare creates approximately £50.9 million of social-economic impact each year.

This is made up of £6.9 million in social value to the beneficiaries themselves and £44 million in saving to the State (in savings to the NHS, the criminal justice system, to schools and in social care).

The implication is that, were FareShare and other charities in the food redistribution sector able to scale up their operational capacity to handle 50% of the surplus food available in the UK supply chain, the value back to the State could be as much as £500 million per year.

FareShare redistributes good quality surplus food from the UK supply chain and delivers it to nearly 10,000 charities and community groups – including homeless hostels, children’s breakfast clubs, domestic violence refuges and community cafes.

In its Annual Report, the charity announced that in 2017-2018 it redistributed 17,000 tonnes of in date, good to eat surplus food — enough to create almost 37 million meals.

This surplus food is worth £30 million per year in cash savings to the charitable sector and means charities can spend more delivering their frontline services.

The report follows the announcement by Michael Gove, SoS for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs for a £15 million pilot project that aims to make it as cost-effective for the food industry to redistribute their surplus to charities as it is for them to dispose of it as waste.

The charity is also launching a new campaign, ‘Good Food Does Good’, to encourage more businesses to do the right thing with their surplus by demonstrating the difference the food makes to the charities and individuals who receive it.

Source: Food&Drink International

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