A Brighton food charity has saved a record 563 tonnes of fresh, in date surplus food from waste by diverting it to people in need - a 13 per cent increase on the previous year.
FareShare Sussex takes surplus food that can’t be sold in shops, either because of packaging errors or a short shelf life, but is still good to eat and redistributes it to frontline charities and community groups.
Food items and categories redistributed include fresh meat and fish, fruit and vegetables, ready meals, milk and cheeses.
The Moulsecoomb-based depot serves a network of 122 organisations across Sussex and Surrey - which include school breakfast clubs, domestic violence refuges, older people’s lunch clubs, food banks and hospices.
These organisations in the last year alone used FareShare food to provide 1,300,437 meals for vulnerable people who might otherwise go hungry. The provision FareShare supplies also enabled them to make a collective saving of £963,800.
A national survey found that, on average, each charity saves £7,900 from its yearly food bill by using food from FareShare, with one in five charities saying that without that food they’d have to close.
Rachel Carless, FareShare Sussex development manager, said: “Times are tough for charities, with local authority cuts continuing to bite. The food we redistribute is great quality and tastes just like the food you’d eat at home. It’s amazing that we can take something that could been thrown away and turn it into something that creates enormous social benefit.”
One such charity is the Sussex Beacon, which supports people diagnosed and living with HIV.
Hattie Yannaghas, senior project coordinator, said: “Complex medicines and treatment can often result in clients coming to us too unwell to cook or with specialist dietary requirements - and in some cases they can be malnourished.
“We have been a member of FareShare for over 13 years now and through the food we receive we’re able to not only cook nutritious meals which meet these requirements, but see a visible difference over time in the health and wellbeing of those accessing the meals. Meals are an essential part of our day service, offering our clients a chance to eat a nutritious, cooked meal in a sociable environment rather than alone at home, giving them one less thing to worry about.”