Waitrose is launching a pioneering new initiative that will see over one million meals donated directly from its food suppliers.
Waitrose has partnered with food distribution charity FareShare and some of its biggest food suppliers to redirect surplus farm food to vulnerable households.
From March 1 to June 30 Waitrose will fund FareShare to distribute surplus food from its own farms, significantly reducing handling and logistics costs.
This new initiative is expected to see five million surplus apples, carrots, mushrooms and sweet baby sprouts redirected, with the target of creating more than one million meals.
Alongside this, Waitrose will also purchase and donate one million British eggs and 22 tonnes of British beef to support vulnerable families.
“We’ve all been inspired by the brilliant work Marcus Rashford has been doing, and we believe there is now a real opportunity for the industry to stand united and help tackle food poverty right from the farm,” Waitrose executive director James Bailey said.
“While farm surplus is put to good use, we must do everything in our power to divert any edible food we can to families that need them during this pandemic.
“As the only supermarket to own and run its own farm, we know how much pressure farmers are under to keep the nation fed, so it’s vital this burden and cost does not rest on their shoulders.
“This is why we will be funding all handling costs until the end of June to get food on the plates of those that need it most. This is just the start and we hope this will lead to us achieving our goal to one day eradicate all avoidable and edible farm waste.”
FareShare’s chief executive Lindsay Boswell added: “This is a significant moment in our battle against food waste and hunger in the UK.
“Working with Waitrose farms and suppliers offers FareShare a fantastic opportunity to access food that would otherwise end up going to waste, at a time when millions of people are going hungry across the UK.”