Waitrose to divert food from farms to struggling families

Waitrose says it wants to help tackle UK food poverty 'right from the farm'
Waitrose says it wants to help tackle UK food poverty 'right from the farm'

Waitrose will redirect surplus food from its suppliers' farms to families in need as part of a new trial in collaboration with charity FareShare.

Farmers who supply the retailer will divert over five million surplus apples, carrots, mushrooms, sprouts and more to the food charity.

The trial aims to provide over one million meals for vulnerable households struggling to put food on the table through lockdown.

From 1 March to 30 June, Waitrose will be providing funds to FareShare to contribute to the distribution of surplus food, which will take away handling costs from farmers.

This includes diverting food surplus directly from the supermarket chain's own farm on the Leckford Estate, in Hampshire.

Waitrose will also provide families with one million eggs, from Stonegate, and almost 22 tonnes of British beef, donated by Dovecote Park.

James Bailey, executive director of Waitrose, said the retailer wanted to help tackle UK food poverty 'right from the farm'.

“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."

FareShare has pioneered smaller projects with farmers, growers and producers to stop food waste through the charity's Surplus with Purpose scheme.

Since the pandemic started, FareShare has had to double the amount of food it distributes to meet the rising demand.