Waitrose and other UK supermarkets have long leaned on partnerships they have with charitable organisations to help bring meals to families who need it most.
Instead of going to waste, excess food that is the equivalent of 16 million meals have gone to FareShare and other groups from Waitrose alone in the past six years. But the hitch is, that food comes from supermarkets.
A more direct idea, the thought of having suppliers direct their overages including fruits and vegetables to charities, is sprouting this summer. The John Lewis Partnership is teaming up with Primafruit, Produce World and Dovecote to help streamline some £100,000 worth of healthy food right from farm to fork.
“Primafruit are so proud to be part of this programme, supplying the healthy fruit we source with care, to those with a real need,” Jamie Marskell, Primafruit Managing Director, said. “Working in partnership with Waitrose and FareShare this summer is a wonderful way to work towards changing lives for the better.”
The number of families and children looking for assistance has grown exponentially since the beginning of the pandemic. The Food Foundation released its 2023 Broken Plate report, showing that an astounding 4 million children aren’t getting the necessary food they need every day. And what they are getting isn’t great. They’re eating 37% less fruit and veg and 17% less fibre. During days when they’re not getting school meals, it is unclear just how they are coping.
Food insecurity isn’t depriving children alone. Some 9.3 million adults in the UK are also not getting three square meals per day. Charities are being overwhelmed with requests.
“The demand for FareShare food has skyrocketed as a result of the cost of living crisis, and will continue to rise throughout the summer holidays when more families rely on these vital local services to feed themselves and their loved ones,” Claire Kerrin, Commercial Manager at FareShare, said. “We’re pleased to be working with Waitrose farms and suppliers, which offers FareShare a fantastic opportunity to distribute fresh food to those who need it, at a time when millions of people are going hungry across the UK.”
Last year alone, FareShare helped redistribute the equivalent of nearly 128 million meals, or 4 every second. More than 70% went to families with a child under the age of 18.
“Everyone has the right to good, nutritious food, the need for which extends beyond school term time.” Lindsey Crompton, Social Impact & Health Lead at the John Lewis Partnership, said.
“Right now many people are struggling to feed themselves and their families, so we want to help ease the pressure for those who risk going hungry this summer.”
Waitrose and its shoppers also have boosted the amount of food being sent to charities through The Trussell Trust. More than 1,100 tonnes of food have gone into collection points at stores. The supermarket has contributed £540,000 to the Trust, as well.