Fresh produce supplier FerryFast has rescued enough food to prepare more than 1.5 million meals for vulnerable people in partnership with food redistributors Waste Knot and FareShare.
Since the partnership began in July 2019, over 640 tonnes of surplus fruit and veg has been saved from waste and diverted to charities.
Pete Osborne, managing director at FerryFast, said: “The impact of Covid-19 has been immense on our country. Unemployment is growing daily and with it poverty numbers will increase.
“We are passionate about supporting the great work done by FareShare and are very proud that we have help provide the equivalent of 1.5 million meals of fresh surplus produce that ordinarily may have been used for animal feed or anaerobic digestion.
“We are also very thankful to Jess Latchford of Waste Knot for the tireless work she puts into joining up producers with organisations to use up some of the surplus, misshapen produce that too often gets left behind.”
The shutdown of the foodservice sector earlier this year created significantly higher levels of surplus within the supply chain, increasing the opportunities for redistribution.
Meanwhile, FareShare and other food redistributors saw increased demand for their services from vulnerable people at increased risk of hunger.
Through the food waste charity’s partnership with Ferryfast and Waste Knot, fresh produce including courgettes, melons, beans and sweetcorn have all been redistributed alongside specially made vegetable stews and salad boxes. These are particularly valuable and convenient for FareShare’s network of charities.
FerryFast and Waste Knot accessed funding through FareShare’s Surplus with Purpose Fund, which enabled the two partners to divert harder-to-access surplus food at no additional cost to them.
The fund has allowed suppliers to divert a significantly higher volume of food to FareShare, helping the organisation triple the amount of food it distributed, from the equivalent of one million to three million meals a week.
Launched last year and financed by Defra and the Walmart Foundation, Surplus with Purpose aims to reduce food waste by offering grants of up to £50,000 to companies to help offset the additional costs incurred when redistributing surplus food to charities. This helps save edible food from going to anaerobic digestion or landfill.
FareShare chief executive Lindsay Boswell said: “Working with FerryFast and Waste Knot has been so important in helping FareShare respond effectively to the crisis and continue delivering vital, fresh and nutritious food supplies to those most vulnerable in our communities.
“The two orgnisations are one of our biggest fresh fruit and veg suppliers and partnered with FareShare at a crucial time. Their support has contributed to our ability to triple the amount of food delivered to our network of 11,000 charities each week.
“Unfortunately, as we continue to navigate the pandemic and a recession the reality is that demand for food is likely to remain at crisis levels for some time.”
FareShare is a national network of 18 food redistributors which diverts surplus and donated food within the UK supply chain to 11,000 charities and community groups nationwide. These include food banks, homeless shelters, community centres and domestic violence refuges.
Meanwhile, Waste Knot works to reduce food waste by linking growers, such as FerryFast, and logistics providers with food service businesses that are prepared to pay for ‘wonky’ or surplus veg.