The fund will be used to offset the cost of diverting surplus food within the supply chain to charities, with a scheme to be developed over the coming months in collaboration with businesses and charities, before launching in 2019/20. The scheme will specifically address surplus food from retail and manufacturing.
According to figures from FareShare, the food saved could provide almost 250 million meals a year for those in need.
Lindsay Boswell, FareShare CEO, said:
“£15m can create almost 250 million meals worth of food a year for those in need, preventing in date food from being wasted. That amount of food could provide every single person in Britain with three square meals for one day.
“Instead this food will go to frontline charities such as breakfast clubs for children, hospices, domestic violence refuges and homeless hostels. This will deliver almost £800m a year in overall savings, both in cash terms for the charities themselves and the knock on savings to schools, the NHS, within the criminal justice system and in health and social care.”
“This £15 million fund will mean FareShare and other charities in this vital area can dramatically scale up their operations – supplying ten times more fresh surplus food to charities, and delivering at least £500 million in social value every year.”
The Government estimates that around 43,000 tonnes of surplus food is currently redistributed from retailers and food manufacturers every year. It is estimated a further 100,000 tonnes of food – equating to 250 million meals a year – is edible and readily available but is currently sent away for generating energy from waste, anaerobic digestion, or animal feed.
Defra is commissioning work to improve the evidence base around food waste, including understanding why more surplus food is not being redistributed. This work will inform the design of the scheme.
Environment Secretary Michael Gove said:
“Nobody wants to see good food go to waste. It harms our environment, it’s bad for business – and it’s morally indefensible. In the coming months we will work closely with business, charities and volunteers to deliver a new scheme to tackle this problem.
“The scheme will specifically address surplus food from retail and manufacturing. This is just one part of the problem. Further action to cut food waste from all sources is being considered as part of Defra’s Resources and Waste Strategy, which will be published later this year.”
Image: FareShare. Children at Deptford Park Primary, 2016.
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