In 1996, Charlie Bigham set out to produce delicious meals that tasted every bit as good as those you’d cook yourself but without the hours spent in the kitchen. Made by hand using best quality fresh, raw ingredients, the Bigham’s range now includes forty different dishes that combine multiple recipes and ingredients. The range boasts pies, curries, and puddings as well as al forno dishes, pan-fry alternatives and meals for one or two.
Bigham’s commitment to quality doesn’t stop with their food. Awarded B Corp certification in 2020, the team has focused on reducing water use, energy consumption, looking at renewable energy sources and to ensure 100% of edible food is redistributed, aiming to reduce food waste.
Accessing hard-to-reach surplus
In February 2022, Bigham’s partnered with FareShare South-West to redistribute surplus ready-to-cook meals to charities and community groups across the region. Perfect for individuals and families, the dishes were distributed to people who were struggling to afford to buy food.
Not content with simply reducing their food waste, Bigham’s has gone a step further to try and eliminate it altogether. As well as finished meals, Bigham’s have pledged to donate any surplus they generate during the production process. If they find themselves with surplus of a single component – whether that’s rice, sauce, or portions of cooked and marinated chicken, it is broken down into suitable serving sizes, packaged and delivered to FareShare South West for redistribution to its charity members.
This doesn’t come without effort – it requires time, cost, and resource from the Bigham’s team to ensure this surplus food is useful and accessible to everyone. By working closely with the FareShare South West Food team, Bigham’s has developed an approach and format that makes food accessible to a far greater number of people.
“By working closely with FareShare South West, we have a good understanding of the organisations they support. We knew that smaller charities simply couldn’t use 20kg catering packs, so we’ve put time and effort into packaging our food into smaller, convenient sized portions that are accessible to more people.” Claire Gibbs (Deputy Head of Food)
Putting waste on the agenda
Their focus on redistributing surplus food has helped keep waste reduction at the top of the agenda for every member of the Bigham’s team. The monthly impact reports they receive from the FareShare South West Food team have been crucial to engaging teams across the business. Seeing their impact in black and white has inspired them to further improve their ways of working and further reduce food waste.
Since the partnership began, the greater FareShare network has redistributed 11.2 tonnes of Charlie Bigham’s food – the equivalent of nearly 27,000 meals.
“We know that good quality, edible surplus is generated at different stages throughout the production process – but it’s often hard to reach. The Charlie Bigham’s approach is pioneering – they’ve put sustainability and community above convenience – and as a result, have reached thousands more people across the South West.”
Ben Evans, Food & Logistics Manager, FareShare South West.
Watch this short video to hear Charlie explaining why it’s important to him that Bighams redistribute as much of their surplus as possible to FareShare South West.