A partnership between food retailers and FareShare, a network of charitable food redistributors, has redirected 22,000 tonnes of food to charitable purposes including food banks, community centres and schools; equivalent to over 57 million meals for vulnerable people. According to an analysis by BRC and FareShare, over 8,000 charities benefitted from the scheme, helping almost one million people in 2022-23.

As well as surplus from shops and distribution centres, FareShare redistributed over 1,000 tonnes of food donated directed by supermarket customers through the retailers’ donation boxes. These generous donations have helped tens of thousands of families all over the UK.

Surplus donated from food retailers also helps to cut waste and reduce unnecessary carbon emissions from the production and transport of food. In total, it is estimated that these partnerships have helped prevent over 15,000 tonnes of CO2e (carbon dioxide equivalent) being wasted. All the major UK supermarkets have signed the BRC Climate Action Roadmap, which pledges to drive the industry to Net Zero, including supply chains, by 2040.

Redistributing food is just one of the ways in which food retailers are helping households during the cost of living crisis. They are also investing in lower prices, locking the price of many essential goods, and offering discounts to vulnerable shoppers.

Helen Dickinson, Chief Executive of the BRC, said:

“The work by FareShare and the major food retailers is supporting households around the country at a difficult time. Not only does this initiative help to get food to those who need it the most, but it also helps reduce waste and cut harmful climate emissions.”

George Wright, CEO at FareShare, said:

“We simply would not be able to support our network of charities and community groups without supermarkets. These charities help tackle the root causes of poverty, and provide vital wraparound services including after-school and breakfast clubs, homelessness shelters and domestic violence refuges. This food is crucial at a time when millions are being forced into food insecurity,and also acts as a gateway  to other services, supporting people facing isolation and loneliness, and strengthening the local community. In times of crisis our retail partners have stepped up to help distribute the equivalent of millions of meals, which would have otherwise gone to waste. The historic partnership between FareShare and retailers has also prevented the wasteful emissions of thousands of tonnes of C02e. We look forward to building our relationship with the retail sector, and getting more of this food to people, not waste.”

Sandwich Angels is a community group based in Hyde, Tameside, Greater Manchester providing much needed food parcels to people in the community. Christina Howard from Sandwich Angels said:

"The supermarkets we receive food from are absolutely brilliant, I can’t fault any of them. Thanks to their work with FareShare, we can create food parcels including fruit, veg eggs and bakery.“Fruit and veg is so important because people need vitamin C and nutritious food. With potatoes, the parents can make a meal – you don’t realise how much of a difference it makes to feed people. About 90% of the people we give food to have children, so you can imagine how many mouths we’re feeding.“The food is so important and it keeps us feeding the families. The nutrition of the children is most important – without the fruit and veg, we wouldn’t be able to feed the families properly. Many families actually cry when they get the food because they can have a good meal.”