Waitrose reach milestone of 20 million meals for people in need

Waitrose has diverted the equivalent of twenty million meals worth of surplus food to charities and community groups across the UK through its partnership with charity FareShare.

Through our stores, customer fulfilment and distribution centres across the UK, we’re committed to reducing our food waste by redistributing perfectly good to eat surplus to FareShare. It’s in line with our goal to halve food waste in our own operations and supply chains by 2030, and helping customers to do the same*. Alone, the 168 tonnes of food diverted between July and December 2023 prevented over 269 tonnes of CO2 emissions and more than 252m litres of water from going to waste.

We distribute surplus food daily from more than 300 Waitrose stores via FareShare Go, which links local charities and community groups with their nearest store. The charities then collect food in-store, typically consisting of items such as bread, fruit and vegetables, which they turn into food parcels or meals for people in the community. Waitrose distribution centres in Enfield and Greenford also deliver high quality food, including meat, fish, dairy, fruit and vegetables, to six of FareShare’s nearby warehouses. This food is then distributed to local charities and community projects supporting people in need.

Lindsey Crompton, Social Impact & Health lead at the John Lewis Partnership, said:

“With the cost of living continuing to rise, we know that it continues to be a really difficult time for many, and we want to do everything we can to support our communities. 

“We’re proud of our ongoing partnership with FareShare, which has made reaching this milestone possible, and takes us even closer to hitting our ambitious goal of halving food waste by 2030.”

Polly Hoffman, Head of Retail at FareShare, said: 

“With living costs continuing to rise, there are millions of people struggling to make ends meet across the UK. That’s why we’re immensely grateful to Waitrose for their continued commitment to redistributing surplus from its distribution centres and over 300 stores, to thousands of charities supporting people in communities across the UK, ensuring food goes to people rather than to waste.”

Most recently, the surplus food diverted between July-December 2023 was received by 2,681 charities and community groups, including:

  • 182 who are working with people experiencing homelessness
  • 50 who are supporting asylum seekers and refugees
  • 622 working with children and young people
  • 120 older people’s community groups

One group that receives food through Waitrose and FareShare is The Smith Brothers Foundation, a registered charity supporting people in Merseyside through support and education. The charity collects surplus food from Waitrose Formby, via FareShare Go, every week which is used to provide food parcels to people in the community, as well as teaching them new ways of preparing food.

Sheryl Dooley, Chief Executive Officer at The Smith Brothers Foundation, said: 

“A lot of the work we do is in support of autism. We’re launching qualifications in autism and working with training providers to make local places autism friendly. We also run sessions for people living with autism and run loads of workshops for the community. Part of that includes bringing older people and younger people together through local care homes.

“We also run dementia cafés, community smart cooking and food bank alternatives.
That’s where FareShare comes in. Through our food service, dementia café, autism courses and other services, I’d say we’re helping up to 300 people every week. And that’s only counting the direct benefactors, that doesn’t include all of the families that food helps too.

“There’s so many people going without to feed their families. With FareShare and Waitrose we can help do that; food is massively important now. We’re so grateful for the food we get from Waitrose and FareShare. What they do is brilliant but sadly very much needed.”

We champion the role the Partnership can play in advancing the happiness of the communities we work with and the wellbeing of society. Our work with FareShare is in line with our goal to halve food waste in our own operations and supply chains by 2030, and our Social Impact Plan to make a positive difference in the communities in which we live and work.

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