The programme will be funded by Asda, and will see the supermarket invest at least £20m in developing the infrastructure of FareShare, which operate a distribution network for food donations and The Trussell Trust, who are the UK’s biggest operator of foodbanks.
The company’s investment will allow the two charities to offer better services to those in need. Both charities said they “struggle” to transport and store fresh food, which needs to be chilled, and means those using food banks are reliant on mainly tinned and packet foods.
The supermarket has also committed to making sure all of its shops are able to donate surplus supplies to food banks by 2020.
The partnership will enable FareShare and The Trussell Trust to provide an additional 24 million meals every year, give 500,000 more people access to fresh food in the UK and help one million people get themselves out of food poverty over the next three years.
Andy Murray, Asda’s chief customer officer said that in the UK 8.4 million people are “struggling to afford to eat”, with one in 10 people “missing meals to pay their bills”. Some four million tonnes of “perfectly decent food” is wasted each year in the UK.
He added: “We simply cannot – and will not – accept food being wasted whilst people in our communities go hungry. We’ve listened to our customers and want to take on their challenge to fight hunger and create change.”
Lindsay Boswell, CEO of FareShare, said: “Based on my 25 years of senior experience in the voluntary sector, I believe that Asda’s investment in tackling hunger and food waste in support of front line charities has the potential to create such a multiplier effect that it could well be the largest single act of support since the creation of the National Lottery or the introduction of Gift Aid.”
Sam Stapley, head of operations for The Trussell Trust, added: “The scale and nature of this funding is unprecedented. Asda’s investment means they can expand their reach and develop new projects bringing very real, tangible benefits to local communities and to anyone struggling with food insecurity in a way that simply has not been possible before.”