A Merseyside food charity has saved a record 792 tonnes of fresh, in date surplus food from waste by diverting it to people in need. FareShare Merseyside takes surplus food from the food industry that can’t be sold in shops, either because of packaging errors or a short shelf life, but is still good to eat and redistributes it to frontline charities and community groups. Food items and categories redistributed include fresh meat and fish, fruit and vegetables, ready meals, milk and cheeses.
The Speke based depot currently serves a network of 236 organisations across Merseyside and the Wirral – which include school breakfast clubs, domestic violence refuges, older people’s lunch clubs, food banks and hospices.
These organisations in the last year alone used FareShare food to provide 1,844,636 meals for vulnerable people who might otherwise go hungry. The provision FareShare supplies also enabled them to make a collective saving of £1,864,400.
A national survey found that, on average, each charity saves £7,900 from its yearly food bill by using food from FareShare, with one in five charities saying that without that food they’d have to close. The food also helps the charities provide healthier, more nutritious meals, with 77% saying it’s improved their client’s diets.
FareShare Merseyside Development Manager, Kirsty Walsh, said: “Times are tough for charities, with local authority cuts continuing to bite. The food we redistribute is great quality and tastes just like the food you’d eat at home. It’s amazing that we can take something that could been thrown away and turn it into something that creates enormous social benefit.”
One such project is The Port Grocery, a not-for-profit community interest company which diverts good food away from landfill for the benefit of the community. Jenni Moss from the project said: “We run a free community lunch every week – which provides on average between 200 and 300 hot meals and drinks to the local community – alongside a membership-based community shop. Our initiative provides high quality, free or affordable food while fighting the war on food waste.
“We have been working with Fareshare since the beginning of our journey in 2016 and they provide us with fantastic quality, often long dated food which we put to good use in all of our ventures. We look forward to continuing to work with Fareshare in the coming years to divert much more fantastic food from going to waste.”
Related read: Nancy Buckland Kirk on Beauty Banks.