As a food retailer we value food highly and we know that for those who find accessing the basics like food a struggle, watching retailers throw good food away is a tragedy.
We have reduced food waste in our stores over the years by ensuring our stock and ordering is well managed, our in-store bakeries are well run, and our distribution and logistics run smoothly but food waste remained an issue as it does for most food retailers and hospitality businesses.
WRAP report that 30% of all total greenhouse gas emissions are created by global food production and 70% of global freshwater used is for agriculture.
Given that 1.3 billion tonnes of food that is wasted globally each year representing one third of all food produced for human consumption, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations this remains a high priority.
So we are committed to our partnership with FareShare Midlands which has diverted over two million meals (one million per year) from the bin to hungry people and reduced our food waste by 40% in two years.
At the end of each day our colleagues bag up usable products that have reached their Best Before date for collection by our own logistics team when they make their next delivery. These are then transported to our distribution centre in Leicester where they are collected and transferred to our FareShare hub at Narborough, Leicester - just five miles away.
Every day FareShare quality check all the food they receive before handing picking and packing to individual group requirements for delivery or collection. Groups receive this stock free of charge.
Anything FareShare have left over at the end of the day that can, goes to animal feed. Anything we can't give to FareShare goes to anaerobic digestion.
We'd like to introduce you to some of the groups that receive our stock.
Chesterfield - Gussies Kitchen (Autumn 2020)
A social eating cafe that has been running for around six years in Chesterfield. By becoming a FareShare Midlands food member, they have saved on food and are able to reinvest their funding into their organisation. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, they were quickly forced to shut down the cafe and re-think their support strategy. As a result, they morphed into a food bank facility for their 100+ beneficiaries. Food bags and cooked frozen meals were made and redistributed to vulnerable households and individuals via a delivery service ran by the organisation’s volunteers.
Jenny Flood, Gussies Kitchen’s Volunteer and Administrative Co-ordinator, said: “Thanks to our FareShare Midlands membership we’ve been able to support a lot of vulnerable groups during the pandemic, from homeless people that have been brought into B&Bs, to small and large families and those who are shielding. The additional deliveries of Co-op food that comes directly from FareShare’s Narborough depot has enhanced our support in an incredible way. The type of food that we receive from the Narborough depot includes lots of fruit, veg and bread. This has made such a difference to the families and individuals that we support in that they are able to make well-balanced nutritious meals. We’ve seen our beneficiaries get extremely tearful as well as excited over the opportunity to try things that they’d never had the chance to before, such as mangoes and avocados. It really has made an enormous impact on people’s lives during 2020 and we’d like to give a great big thank you to both FareShare Midlands and Central England Co-op for their support."
Birmingham - Frankley Plus Children's Centre (Summer 2020)
A community group has come up with a unique digital approach of helping families at risk of going hungry this summer.
Frankley Plus Children’s Centre, in Birmingham, has been unable to provide its regular holiday kitchen to families because of the pandemic, meaning that they have been at risk of missing out on not only vital food packages but also support in how to create healthy meals.
So, to continue to help as many people as possible, the group linked up with FareShare Midlands to source food supplies, created care and recipe packages that were delivered to families and then hosted a special online cooking class to help people cook nutritious food.
Joy, Community Development and Parental Engagement Worker at Frankley Plus Children’s Centre, Birmingham, explained how donations to FareShare Midlands from Central England Co-op has played a major part in ensuring that people have not gone hungry in the area.
She said: “We offer a range of support services to the local community in particular families.
“One of the things that we do offer is called a holiday kitchen. This normally takes place during the six-week school holidays, and we invite families onsite to teach them how to cook and give them food parcels.
“However, we have not been able to do this during COVID-19, so we decided to get our teams to refer the families most at need and we then have been interacting with them virtually via Facebook.
“We have helped over 320 families in the area as a result – it has been a great success.
“In terms of FareShare, they have been amazing. We get food from them, sort into parcels, pick a recipe, deliver to families and then head online to do some virtual healthy cooking. We also include an extra bag of food to help them out.
“We are so pleased to have been able to make changes and still help people during these unprecedented times. Thanks to FareShare for being part of a vital scheme.”
Nottingham - Foodprint (Autumn 2020)
A student-led community interest company that sells and redistributes surplus food in Nottingham. It is part of Enactus Nottingham, and the project has been going on for roughly the last five years. It first opened its store in Sneinton in 2017, which is run by an amazing group of local and student volunteers. It runs several different initiatives and projects from the store, the latest is the Foodprint on Wheels model where it aims to take its mobile supermarket to isolated areas in Nottingham.
The good cause works with FareShare to get weekly deliveries of surplus food which enables them to open its store and help those in its community.
On average, it can help just over 500 people a week by redistributing the food to several partner organisations including breakfast clubs, food banks and homeless shelters.
Nottingham - Arnold Foodbank (2018)
This short film perfectly sums up the important work of these projects.