On 1 October 2018 Michael Gove, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, announced a pilot £15m Surplus Food Redistribution Fund.
FareShare has been lobbying Government for five years to introduce a fund to offset the costs to food producers for diverting their surplus, as the supermarkets already do, to charities which redistribute good to eat food to other charities which turn it into meals for vulnerable people - rather than send it to become waste.
FareShare has had so much support from the European Food Banks Federation as well as from The Grocer magazine and charity partners such as the Felix Project to raise this issue up the agenda.
Right now it costs farmers, manufacturers and packers a lot less to dump or recycle edible, in date food than to redistribute it to good causes, in part because of the cost of keeping the surplus food fit for human consumption. With the barriers to charitable food redistribution removed, businesses will no longer be penalized for doing the right thing with their food; using it to feed people.
FareShare estimates it can cost up to £150 per ton to separate, store and transport edible surplus food to charity. This fund, which we see being for eligible food suppliers not supermarkets, will help unlock far more of the 270,000 tons of edible surplus in the supply chain, and make sure it gets to the people who need it.
The food industry and charitable food redistribution charities already work well together. With the Government actively joining the conversation, the opportunity for the UK to increase the volume of food it redistributes to charities by more than 10 times the current volumes and to contribute up to £3000 million in value each year to the UK voluntary sector is a realistic and powerful outcome.
FareShare will continue to work closely with Government as the details of the fund are worked out. They see themselves as the conduit between charity, Government and business to ensure the fund works well for everyone.
There is much work to do, you can keep up with the progress via FareShare website.