Retail giant Asda has joined forces with a food redistribution organisation in a bid to support charities across Northern Ireland.
The initiative will see surplus food stocks from Asda’s supply chain, much of which previously went to waste, now being redistributed FareShare, which is operated by local charity Council for the Homeless NI.
This will save over 58 tonnes of food from going to waste, and will result in more than 138,000 meals being served up to vulnerable and homeless people throughout the province.
The pioneering supply chain model is part of a UK-wide operation by Asda and will see a 41 per cent increase in the total amount of chilled food sent to FareShare depots each year.
The scale of the initiative is expected to generate significant cost savings for the charities supported by FareShare, freeing up much-needed money for investment in other essential services. All of Asda’s suppliers will become part of the scheme.
With food poverty, record unemployment and spending cuts continuing to impact on local people, Fareshare has seen a hike in the number of charities seeking support. The partnership also reflects the findings of Asda’s recent Income Tracker which showed that NI families had just £54 of weekly discretionary income,
Aubrey Swift, regional operations manager for Asda NI said: “It’s hard to believe that food poverty is getting worse, not better.
“Through our new supply chain model and work with FareShare, I’m proud that we’re able to help feed many vulnerable and needy people who might otherwise go hungry.
“We recognise that in this environment, even more needs to be done.
“I hope that our work will inspire other retailers to work together to find new ways of redistributing food wasted in the supply chain to those who need it most.”
To support FareShare in developing the infrastructure it needs to cope with the increase in food volumes,
Asda is investing £100,000 to grow the capacity of FareShare’s UK depots and to invest in transportation, logistics and labour. The donation will be made through the Asda Foundation, Asda’s philanthropic arm.
Méabh Austin, FareShare development officer said:“We are delighted to be working in partnership with Asda on this groundbreaking initiative.
“It means we can provide more food to more charities, enabling us to feed even more people at a time of real need.”