Why we need Food Friends to change our broken food system

The UK wastes an estimated 9.5 million tonnes of food a year, valued at over £19 billion. While some of that food waste may be unavoidable, an estimated 270,000 tonnes of perfectly edible, good-to-eat food gets wasted each year.  

In the face of headlines today showing the appalling effect of the cost-of-living crisis on the most vulnerable, we think this food waste has never been more unacceptable. This is especially since 26% of children in Bristol live in households where there isn’t enough money to receive a nutritionally balanced diet.

Surplus food isn’t going away any time soon. While it exists, what is lacking to enable surplus food to get to people in need safely?  

The answer is infrastructure.

Warehouses, vans, pallet trucks, processes and people that connect the food industry to the frontline charities. And that’s where FareShare comes in. We are the largest food charity in the UK, and the only one with capacity to safely take food on a large scale- food by the tonne- as well as the connections to local projects. A small local charity simply cannot use 10 pallets of yoghurt- but we can take it into our warehouses, along with hundreds of other foods, and create useful food orders for frontline charities. 

At a national level, FareShare UK continues to lobby the Government to secure funding to help farmers get their surplus to us. Here in the South West, we at FareShare South West are working with local food companies across our region to encourage them to send their surplus our way. This is only possible if we have capacity to receive it- and we can only grow with vital funding.  

We talk to projects every day who are crying out for food- and we know that more food is out there. But to get more food through our warehouses, we must be sure we can sustain growth long term. We aren’t a short-term sticking plaster- when a charity signs up to getting food from us, we send them deliveries every week. 

Which is why our Food Friends scheme is so important.

Being a food friend means investing in an alternative solution to our broken food system and joining the fight against hunger and food waste.  

To keep out operation turning, we must cover costs- including our own soaring energy bills- to ensure we can keep supporting charities.  

Your donations make a huge difference. In the last few months alone, tens of new food companies have signed up to send us their surplus, and we’ve been able to launch a much-needed new warehouse in Plymouth. We could not do this without you.