Waitrose has announced that it has teamed up with FareShare in a new trial that will redirect surplus farm food to families in need in the next phase of its Give A Little Love Campaign.
The trial will run from 1 March through to 30 June 2021 with the grocer taking away all “handling costs” from farmers to help them to “maximise” the number of donations they can make.
In total, over five million surplus apples, cucumbers, crooked carrots, mushrooms, peppers, sweet baby sprouts and tomatoes will be redirected – aiming to create more than one million meals for vulnerable families across the UK.
In addition, Waitrose stated it has purchased and will provide one million British eggs and almost 22 tonnes of British beef to support vulnerable families.
The trial follows reports from Child Poverty Action Group that 80% of low-income families in the UK are “financially worse off” as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
James Bailey, executive director of Waitrose, said: “While farm surplus is put to good use, we must do everything in our power to divert any edible food we can to families that need them during this pandemic.
“This is why we will be funding all handling costs until the end of June to get food on the plates of those that need it most. This is just the start and we hope this will lead to us achieving our goal to one day eradicate all avoidable and edible farm waste.”
Since the pandemic started, FareShare said it has had to “double” the amount of food it distributes to meet the rising demand.
Lindsay Boswell, CEO of FareShare, added: “This is a significant moment in our battle against food waste and hunger in the UK. Working with Waitrose farms and suppliers offers FareShare a fantastic opportunity to access food that would otherwise end up going to waste, at a time when millions of people are going hungry across the UK.”
The Give a Little Love campaign has already raised over £3m for long term charity partners FareShare, Home-Start and local community groups, with a further £2m pledged last month.