While the latest figures showed it received 5,500t of food, a 30% increase in just 12 months, the food distribution charity said that represented just 1.5% of UK surplus food. That was based on its estimations that spare food amounted to 300,000t to 400,000t annually.
“We estimate that there’s enough surplus food for another 800M meals in the UK,” said Fareshare ceo Lindsay Boswell. “We’re urgently calling on the industry to act and divert their surpluses to Fareshare so we can feed more people.”
Clamour for donations
The number of food charities and the clamour for donations was increasing rapidly, said the organisation. It redistributed enough food for 1M meals a month last year and was taking on seven new charities every week to help meet demand, it claimed.
It was now supporting 1,296 charities and community projects, meaning 62,200 people received food from Fareshare every day last year, up from 43,700 in 2012 and 36,500 in 2011.
“The trends are alarming,” said Boswell. “We’re supporting more people and more charities than ever and while we hear that the economy is recovering, we know it will always be hardest for the most vulnerable in society to regularly access food.”
Fortunately, continued support from Sainsbury, together with breakthrough partnerships with Tesco and Asda, had helped cater for that need, said Fareshare. It has also seen a tenfold increase in the amount of fresh produce it receives.
Last year, FareShare saved its member charities more than £16M on their food bills and helped businesses save more than 19,500t of greenhouse gas emissions by diverting food from landfill sites.
More than 80% of these charities invest the savings into providing their clients with additional support services such as counselling, addressing the wider causes of why they are struggling to feed themselves.
Meanwhile, the UK’s five wealthiest families have more money than the bottom 20% of the population, according to research published by the charity Oxfam. It estimated the combined wealth of the richest Britons at £28.2bn, outstripping the nation’s poorest 12.6M people. Oxfam said the findings, published ahead of the Budget on Wednesday (March 19), were “a sign of economic faliure”.
Premier Foods recently donated pallets of soup to Prince Charles’s charity In Kind Direct to aid flood-devastated communities of south west England.