As FareShare takes on seven new charities every week to help meet demand for the distribution of food to those in need, figures revealed by the organisation show that 85 percent of the 5,500 tonnes of food donations received over the last year were classed as “surplus” and would have gone to waste.
Figures released also revealed FareShare saved its member charities a total of more than £16m last year on their food bills.
More than 80 percent of these charities invest the savings into providing their clients with additional support services, helping address the wider causes of why they are struggling to feed themselves.
Last year FareShare redistributed enough food for 12m meals, saving each charity an average of £13,000 a year and food businesses 19,500 tonnes of CO2 emissions.
The national food redistribution charity has seen the biggest increase in the amount of food given out since it began in 1994.
FareShare provided charities with food for 1m meals every month last year.
FareShare is also taking on seven new charities every week to help meet demand, a 41 percent increase in twelve months.
The organisation is now supporting 1,296 charities and community projects, meaning 62,200 people received food from FareShare every day last year, up from 43,700 in 2012 and 36,500 in 2011.
Lindsay Boswell, FareShare – “The trends are alarming. We’re supporting more people and more charities than ever and while we hear that the economy is recovering, we know it will always be hardest for the most vulnerable in society to regularly access food”
Lindsay Boswell, CEO, FareShare said: “The trends are alarming. We’re supporting more people and more charities than ever and while we hear that the economy is recovering, we know it will always be hardest for the most vulnerable in society to regularly access food.
“The frontline organisations we work with offer not only a meal, but vital support services. Food is often what draws a beneficiary into a charity but it’s the extra services, like counselling, employment advice and housing assistance that really count. These address the causes of poverty and that’s where the help really starts.”
FareShare received 5,500 tonnes of food in the last year, 85 percent of which was surplus, meaning it would have otherwise gone to waste; ending up in landfill or being fed to animals. This food is all in-date but has become surplus as a result of labelling errors, damaged packaging or not meeting specifications, according to FareShare. This was mainly fresh produce, such as fruit, vegetables and meat.
Based on the charities FareShare supports, people affected by homelessness are still the highest beneficiary group to receive food (30 percent). However, the number of children and families receiving help through breakfast clubs, youth centres and community cafes has doubled in the past year and now accounts for a quarter of all people accessing FareShare food.
Lindsay Boswell continues: “We’re urgently calling on the industry to act and divert their surpluses to FareShare so we can feed more people.”