Ample Marketplace supports UK growers to make the most of their crop and tackle food waste

Ample connects British growers with buyers across the food sector

Ample connects British growers with buyers across the food sector

A new online platform has been launched to tackle on-farm fresh produce waste and connect British growers with restaurants, wholesalers, manufacturers, caterers and charities.

Ample said it “empowers farms to sell their whole harvest, increases food security, and creates connections that reinvigorate local food economies”.

The start-up added that inequity in the food system is what motivates its team.

The platform allows farmers to upload their produce so it can be marketed to buyers across the food industry. The aim is to facilitate good deals and fair returns.

The company explained that “hassle-free” logistics are built into the system to ensure food is delivered on time and in perfect condition. However, buyers can collect the produce themselves if they prefer.

Jack Scott, BBC Countryfile’s Young Countryside Champion, said: “As a small grower, I love the concept of Ample because it enables me to market my produce online in one easy-to-use place.

“Not only will Ample help me sell my produce, they also handle my customer invoicing, collect the money and send it to me within a couple of weeks, leaving me free to focus on growing the best produce I possibly can without the hassle factor of marketing and sales.”

A 2022 study by WWF found that 2.9 million tonnes (6.9 billion meals) of edible food is wasted on UK farms each year. In fresh produce, this happens for a number of reasons, including fruit and vegetables that don’t conform to strict marketing standards due to shape, size, or blemishes; contractors changing their mind after planting; unpredictable weather; and changeable consumer demand.

Growing food requires a huge amount of resources including energy, water, chemicals, labour and money. So wasting food also wastes the resources that go into growing and harvesting it.

Ample co-founder and CEO Steve Thomas said: “We are really excited to be launching Ample Marketplace because we believe it will make a big difference to the effectiveness of our broken food chain.

“We can’t bear to see good food go to waste, especially when we all know how important it is to act and mitigate climate change. But also, crucially, we are bringing high-quality British food for business buyers at keen prices.”

Ample is already facilitating the rescue of fresh produce from the Lea Valley to feed London school children.

Michael Hales is CEO at Juniper Ventures, which supplies over 23,000 meals a day to students in the London Borough of Newham. He said: “We are always looking for the best ways to support local suppliers, and it’s fantastic to be able to deliver farm-to-fork food for our students, getting British food onto our menus and a fair deal for all.

“Our partnership with Ample fits the bill perfectly. Ample makes the buying process quick and easy, providing consistent availability and advance purchasing with great customer service.

“We are now a regular buyer of fresh produce on the platform and are planning to expand this successful relationship.”