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FareShare: Supplying surplus food across the UK


Zycomm’s involvement as a supplier to the distribution sector over a number of decades has allowed the team to gain an insight into the challenges faced by businesses with surplus stock; from frustrations over wastage costs to pressure from the government to reduce their environmental impact. At the other end of the spectrum Zycomm’s connection with numerous charities has exposed us to some of the food poverty problems faced by vulnerable people across the UK.

FareShare is the link that joins these very different worlds together to tackle food scarcity and save the environment at the same time. FareShare is the UK's largest charity fighting hunger and food waste. FareShare works primarily with businesses prepared to invest their surplus goods, time and in some cases their finances, into this exceptional cause.

Our Marketing Executive Hannah Ingram spoke at length with Elina Kanela from the FareShare communications team to uncover just the tip of the iceberg; in terms of the difference this vast network makes to 1000’s of charities throughout the UK. With 21 regional centres, including locations in Scotland and Northern Ireland, from Grampian down to Sussex, FareShare supplies food to almost 11,000 charities and community groups with nearly 2,000 towns and cities supported by the programme.

 “We save good food from going to waste and redistribute it to frontline charities. Every week we provide food to 924,325 people who might otherwise go without.” Elina is particularly proud that the project has saved over 376 million Co2 emissions this year alone.

Charities supported by FareShare Food Redistribution

Places supported by FareShare include homeless charities (FareShare was originally founded by Homeless Charity Crisis), primary schools, refugee centres, disability centres and the British Red Cross. There is a real social impact from the work they do in addition to the environmental side. The food FareShare provides is not just about quantity for these charities; 77% say FareShare has improved the diet for their service users equipping them with more energy and improving their quality of life as they connect with their local community when they meet for meals.

Fareshare centres for surplus food

Their interesting main partners

The consensus often found during general conversation on the topic of waste is that supermarkets and other food venders are the main culprits for food going to landfill but Elina explains that there is a misconception here:

 “Retailers are focusing on their corporate social responsibility as well as their own cost efficiency and hence we have seen a significant reduction in waste within that sector which is a real positive”

In reality food manufacturers currently provide them with the most surplus food. From swift changes in supply and demand, inefficiency during the production/packing stage or even fluctuations in the weather can result in forecasting being less than 100% accurate. Food processing companies can vastly reduce their environmental impact by working with FareShare; a sure way to make a positive out of the unexpected.

Taking food from a more primary source, where items may not have been packed yet, adds an extra layer to the logistical planning required to move these items.

Elina gives this example “10 left over cereal boxes are easy enough to move but when food isn’t packed yet there is a cost element with this”

How companies can make a difference - Surplus with Purpose

Elina explains that some businesses have the surplus food required to take part in the scheme but find the financial and logistical commitment of transporting the food to one of their centres a step too far for them to commit to the project.

This is where new government funding comes in. Companies can now claim for distribution from their premises to FareShare regional centres, dramatically cutting the costs required to take part of this extraordinary network.

Elina also praises companies that go above and beyond offering to pop into their centres with extra food as part of their routine logistics runs or even going into their own ‘non surplus’ stock for donations.

Fareshare warehouse reducing food wastage and food poverty

How you can get involved – From volunteering to shopping

If you work for one of the sectors that don’t work with food as part of the day to day running of the business there are still many ways you can join the efforts on a personal basis. FareShare relies on the generosity of supporters to continue to redistribute food across the UK.

There are many ways individuals can make a difference from shopping at supermarkets participating in the ‘You Buy One, We Give One’ campaign or by directly volunteering either as an individual or as a corporate group. FareShare has a number of unique opportunities for companies to get involved and support their work.

Elina tells me “the volunteering opportunities are ideal because there is something for everyone” from warehouse staff, drivers or even community champions the diverse volunteer roles available allow people from all different walks of life to take part in the project.

Fareshare Volunteers - Save the environement, zero to landfill

The media often speak at length about the duty of schools to look out for the wellbeing of their pupils particularly those from low income backgrounds who may turn up to school hungry but what happens when these kids leave for the summer holidays which span, on average, across a six-week period? Many families struggle to afford the ‘meal gap’ which is why FareShare have started the campaign #ActiveAte working directly with charities which put on activities for children during the summer and providing over 2,500 children with a hot meal each day.

 ActiveAte Fareshare charity, charity for children, food poverty

Find out more

You can read more at on the FareShare website or use their contact page for partner and volunteering enquiries.

 

FareShare Website

 

Our marketing executive Hannah Ingram says “On behalf of the Zycomm Team I would like to thank Elina and everyone at FareShare for allowing us to raise awareness of such an important cause. We hope this will catch the attention of our customers and prospects and provide FareShare with some new partners.”