Community groups benefit from Tesco food initiative

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Surplus food from Tesco shops has been hailed a success after providing charities with more than five million meals,

The venture has seen 11,625 meals donated to local groups in Midlothian.

The food surplus scheme, Community Food Connection, has helped serve meals to more than 3,300 community groups and charities since its launched a year ago. This work is a key part of the retailer’s target to ensure no food safe for human consumption will go to waste inside Tesco’s UK operations by the end of 2017.

Launched in February 2016, the initiative sees Tesco stores providing their surplus food to local charities and community groups. The food plays a key role in helping charities feed people and, in doing so, allowing the money saved to be invested in vital social services in communities across the whole of the UK.

Tesco helped develop the nationwide scheme in partnership with a small social enterprise, FoodCloud, and food redistribution charity, FareShare following a successful partnership in Ireland.

Community Food Connection links charities and community groups to their local Tesco stores through an innovative phone app. The app lets local charities know there is surplus food available at the end of each day. Community groups can then collect and use the food for their community work.

The scheme is live in 900 Tesco stores, including two in Midlothian – Penicuik and Dalkeith – and work is already underway to roll it out to a further 1,800 convenience stores.

Matt Davies, Tesco UK and ROI chief executive officer, said: “It’s great to see the difference Community Food Connection is making to providing people in need with meals from food that would otherwise go to waste and services they need. We know we still have more to do to achieve our target that no food safe for human consumption goes to waste in our UK operations, but this is important progress.

“Our colleagues are playing a vital role. Together with our partners FareShare and FoodCloud, they are helping to make sure local charities across the UK have access to surplus food from our stores.”

FareShare chief executive Lindsay Boswell added: “This is an incredible milestone in store-level food redistribution to charities which Tesco has made possible since developing the programme with FareShare and FoodCloud.

“Tesco has led the way with introducing such a step-change in tackling their store surplus food and having seen the scheme grow and create such impact for vulnerable people, it proves that it can deliver very obvious results which can benefit other retailers and their local communities too.”

This year Tesco is set to extend Community Food Connection to its convenience stores, which will significantly extend the number of charities reached and the number of meals given to people in need. The retailer is asking local groups and charities to sign up to receive surplus food donations.

If you are a charity or community group that could benefit from the support of Community Food Connection, visit www.fareshare.org.uk/fareshare-foodcloud to register.