Breaking News on the Food and Drink Manufacturing Sector

FareShare founder’s pilot attracts big names

By Gary Scattergood+, 02-Sep-2013

Related topics: Manufacturing, Services

The founder of food re-distribution charity FareShare is establishing a trademark scheme for firms that make available all surplus stock for human consumption, with several major manufacturers reportedly expressing an interest in signing up for a pilot project in the new year.

Tony Lowe MBE set up the redistribution charity in 2002 and remained at the helm until 2010.

He has had meetings with several “big names” this month and will present to an IGD think tank subgroup as he attempts to get the trademark system off the ground under the guise of his new organisation Turn The Tables.

‘Very encouraging’

“By December we hope to have 12 firms in place for the pilot and the response we’ve had so far has been very encouraging,” he said. “We will help them understand how and where food waste happens in the food chain. We will also get across the message that it is not just about finished goods. Unfinished goods can also be fit for purpose and for consumption.”

Lowe acknowledged that most firms were very efficient on waste, but argued that “just 0.01% of vast volumes is very significant when translated into meals”.

One of the major areas of support he would be able to provide, he added, would be to build in food waste strategies into existing systems and technology.

“At FareShare we discovered this was one of the main difficulties for manufacturers. For example, one major firm we worked with had a real problem building it into its computer system, because there was an option to class something as ‘destroyed’ but not ‘redistributed’ which posed it problems in terms of traceability. However, we have 10 years’ experience in working with manufacturers so, like in that case, we can help businesses overcome these problems.”

To qualify for the trademark, a manufacturer would have to show it identified food waste, captured it, offered it for redistribution and built all of this into its process.

“It is not the manufacturers' job to distribute the food, nor is it about them making sure all of it is taken, it is about them making it available if redistribution organisations want it,” said Lowe.

‘Optimistic’

Despite space for on-pack messaging being at a premium, Lowe is optimistic that firms would want to promote their efforts.

“So far, not one business has expressed an issue about putting it on pack," he said. "Food waste is a very hot topic and one that is striking a chord with consumers.

“Getting something like this off the ground is never easy, but we think this will be seen as a badge of honour and in five to 10 years consumers will expect to see it.”

The scheme will be formally launched in January.