More than 5 million meals diverted to people at risk of hunger over ten-year Brakes and FareShare partnership

A ten year partnership between Brakes and FareShare, the UK’s biggest food charity, has seen enough surplus food diverted to frontline charities and community groups to provide more than 5 million meals for vulnerable people.

“We are proud to support FareShare’s work, which has never been more important or needed than over the past few months in helping to provide for those families whose lives have been devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Lindsay Boswell, FareShare Chief Executive

Brakes provides high quality fresh and frozen food and ingredients to some of the nation’s most famous pubs and Michelin-starred restaurants, as well as schools, caterers, care homes and hospitals. The company first diverted surplus food to FareShare in 2010. Over the last decade it has redistributed over 2,000 tonnes of fresh produce, dairy, meat and frozen foods via FareShare’s UK-wide network of food warehouses.

At the start of the coronavirus crisis in March, when the foodservice sector was suddenly shut down, Brakes responded quickly, significantly increasing the volumes of food it diverted to FareShare – with 225 tonnes of Brakes’ stock redistributed via the charity’s network of food warehouses. This food, equivalent to over 535,000 meals, was then delivered to thousands of frontline charities, including foodbanks, homeless shelters and community centres working to support those most in need throughout the crisis.

Previously, diverting increased volumes of surplus food to charities would have incurred additional costs but, thanks to funding from FareShare’s Surplus with Purpose Fund, which covered the cost of transporting food to FareShare’s warehouses, these costs were significantly reduced. The FareShare Surplus with Purpose Fund aims to reduce food waste by making it ‘cost neutral’ for businesses to divert their edible surplus to charities, rather than sending it to AD, animal feed or landfill, offering grants of up to £50,000 to offset the costs of harvesting, packing, storing and transporting surplus food.  So far, the fund has enabled FareShare to distribute an additional 12,000 tonnes of surplus food to charities.

Lindsay Boswell, FareShare Chief Executive, said: “The enormous range of fresh food we receive from the Brakes network goes to thousands of charities and community groups across the UK, helping them to get good food onto the plates of those who are most vulnerable. Brakes’ support has been critical over the course of the crisis, with demand from frontline charities more than tripling. We’re grateful to Brakes for their longstanding support and commitment to doing the right thing with their surplus food – ensuring it feeds people first.”

In the decade that Brakes has been working with FareShare, the company has been presented with the Unilever Community Award at the IGD Food Industry Awards in 2011 and launched its own charity – Meals & More, which helps provide much-needed food to vulnerable families during the school holidays.

Hugo Mahoney, Brakes CEO, said: “We are passionate about delivering a better tomorrow through our CSR focus areas. We’re proud to have been frequently recognised by our industry for what we’ve achieved in reducing waste and packaging as well as improving sustainability. While we work hard to minimise surplus food, there are times when it is unavoidable and, when it is, we have a valued and longstanding partnership with FareShare to ensure that it reaches the tables of our nation’s most vulnerable people.

“We are proud to support FareShare’s work, which has never been more important or needed than over the past few months in helping to provide for those families whose lives have been devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic.”

St George the Martyr Church, in London, is one of thousands of charities which receives surplus food from Brakes. Before the crisis, the Church ran community outreach programmes including a foodbank, community café, children’s holiday club and community fridge. Since lockdown measures were introduced in March, the Church has been providing pre-made meals and food parcels so that people can cook safely at home.

Kate Sing’ombe, from St George the Martyr Church, said: “We’re currently cooking around 1,000 meals a week which are then frozen and added to food parcels, alongside fruit, vegetables, dairy, protein and non-perishable food items. We currently provide a week’s worth of food to nearly 300 people every week. We supported a woman a day after she had been discharged from hospital after suffering from COVID-19. She said that she was sure her recovery had been faster because of the high nutritional content of the food, particularly all the fruit and vegetables.”

For more information and to find out how companies can access the FareShare Surplus with Purpose Fund, click here.

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