Tons of surplus food reduce UK hunger
Too much food waste despite too many people going hungry are dilemmas faced by many countries. But a UK-based nonprofit – with the help of General Mills UK – is doing its best to solve both issues.
In the past year, FareShare – an organization that rescues edible food from companies and grocers and distributes it to charities – has received 31 tons of surplus food from General Mills UK.
This long list of consumables includes Nature Valley bars, Old El Paso meal kits, Green Giant vegetables, Betty Crocker baking mixes, and Yoplait yogurt, says Jonathan Bennett, head of external relations at General Mills UK.
“We are committed to putting our surplus food to the best use possible,” says Jonathan. “Having created a monthly redistribution system with FareShare means more of our products can feed vulnerable people more than ever before.”
This aligns with the General Mills Foundation’s new strategic focus on promoting food secure communities and sustainable agriculture.
However, General Mills UK has worked with FareShare for nearly a decade.
Helping vulnerable people
“The surplus food from General Mills is distributed between FareShare’s 20 Regional Centres in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, depending on where there is the most need. From there, the food is sorted, packed and delivered to local charities and community groups, such as homeless hostels, children’s breakfast clubs, and domestic violence refuges. By receiving food from FareShare, these organizations are better able to provide nutritious meals alongside life-changing support,” says Lindsay Boswell, chief executive officer of FareShare.
“This surplus food helps a wide variety of vulnerable people across the UK, from people who are homeless and disadvantaged children to older people suffering from social isolation and people who have physical and mental illness,” Boswell says.
General Mills UK’s provision of 31 tons of food so far this year is more than triple the amount it gave FareShare last year. Jonathan says it’s a sign of the devoted effort that General Mills UK has made for the hunger cause and minimizing food waste.
Our partnership with FareShare goes beyond food.
In the last 20 months, the General Mills Foundation has provided the organization with two grants worth more than $300,000. The money bought five walk-in refrigerators and two delivery vans for use at FareShare’s Regional Centres.
Grant funds also have helped launch a store-level program that connects charities seeking surplus food with participating stores from Tesco, the UK’s largest supermarket chain.
Through FareShare FoodCloud, charities are notified by text message about unsold food that they can collect free of charge from Tesco stores.
“The project has been a great success and we now work with 543 Tesco stores across the country to supply surplus food to almost 2,000 charities,” says Boswell. “FareShare is now in talks with other grocers about implementing the scheme at their stores.”
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