The amount of surplus food businesses gave to charities increased by 50% in between 2015 and 2017, according to figures from WRAP, while charitable redistribution of food increased by around 80% in this time.
WRAP’s latest research covers 2015-2017 and analyses data provided by the UK’s largest redistribution bodies, which accounts for the majority of all surplus food handled.
It shows that overall surplus food redistribution from retailers, manufacturers and hospitality and food services businesses has increased by 50% in two years.
- Charitable redistribution rose by around 80% over the two-year period, with an increase of 30% via commercial organisations.
- The combined increase for charitable and commercial redistribution was 14,500 tonnes (50%).
- This represents the equivalent of around an extra 35 million meals a year, bringing the 2017 total equivalent to 102 million meals.
- The value of the food redistributed in 2017 was almost £130 million, with the increase from 2015 to 2017 worth over £40 million.
- The manufacturing sector was the largest single source of redistributed food in 2017, followed by retail.
- The supply of surplus food from the retail sector to charities has more than doubled (114% increase – the equivalent of an additional 15 million meals), and that from manufacture increased by 71% (the equivalent of an additional 7 million meals).
Retail is the largest supplier to the charitable redistribution sector, supplying 50-60% of the total surplus food, with the manufacturing sector supplying 30-40%. The remainder comes from the hospitality and food service sector, and other sources such as logistics and wholesale.
Peter Maddox, WRAP Director, said:
“It’s great to see such a rapid rise in redistribution and the growing number of partnerships between the supply chain and charities. This stops good food going to waste, and helps feed people. But we know there’s much more to do. Our research shows food redistributed, from manufacturers and retailers, could increase further, by more than 200,000 tonnes.
“There’s potential too to source greater amounts of surplus food from other parts of the supply chain like primary production, and the hospitality and food service sector. Our Courtauld 2025 Redistribution Working Group is helping to forge new links and supports both businesses and redistribution organisations in ensuring surplus food feeds people, first. Businesses signatories have committed to doubling the amount they redistribute by 2020. Seeing these numbers, I am confident they will hit that target.”
WRAP has also announced that eight charities and not-for-profit groups will receive grants from the Government’s £500,000 Food Waste Reduction Fund, which WRAP administers, to provide essential resources needed to expand their important work. The eight organisations were chosen from 119 expressions of interest to the Fund with individual grants ranging from £40,000 to £75,000, which together will help the eight redistribute an additional 2,500 tonnes of quality food to feed people in need – the estimated equivalent of around six million meals.
The recipients include Action Homeless in Leicester, which will use the funds to upscale its current activities through investment to improve project co-ordination and logistics, His Church in London / the Midlands / the North West and North East – to expand current activities in all these locations and set up more programmes for children and families, and FareShare in two centres in southern England – to run a pilot project to expand freezer capacity at both FareShare depots in the South of England and redistribute more frozen food.
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