A unique experiment is underway right here in SE16. Our biggest Tesco – the Surrey Quays Extra – is trialling the FareShare FoodCloud app enabling local charities and community groups to access good surplus food. Tesco and FareShare have a three-year partnership to make good use of surplus food from across the food giant’s business.
Vik Sthapit the Fresh Food Manager showed me how they do it. “Each day, we keep a close eye on our fresh food stocks and as the day progresses, we make a decision about how much we will sell of the perishable goods. Three times each day we decide which items need to be discounted to ensure they are sold by the end of the day. We used to take it down to 10p for a bag of lettuce just to get rid of the surplus. Unfortunately that just encouraged a ‘vulture culture’ when the aisle became crowded with customers waiting for the rock-bottom prices to be posted.’
“…1058.5kg of food donated; the charity estimates that is nearly 2330 meals that would have cost £3175 to provide…”
“In May, we took up the offer of being the first Tesco in the country to trial the app and pass on our surplus in-date bakery, fruit and veg to good causes. Each day we make the same decisions earlier in the day but at about 19:00, we decide how much good food will be left over by the day’s end and mark that for charity. We don’t just sling out the worst goods. We always ensure that it passes the WIBI test: Would I Buy It? If it would be in my basket, then it’s good to go to charity. We’ve not yet been able to move on to including our fridge goods but hopefully that will be possible soon. We just need to be sure the surplus will be kept refrigerated throughout its journey to the final consumer.”
“…homeless units, children’s breakfast clubs, older people’s lunch clubs and women’s refuges – depend on the supply of surplus food…”
Partners with Fareshare
Vik showed me the FoodCloud app they use to tell charities what (if anything) is available for pickup that day. This logs how much is ready to be picked up and, if the charities want it, the hour slot for the pick up to happen. It also records the 56 donations that this Tesco had made to 6 August when I visited, making 1058.5kg of food donated; the charity estimates that is nearly 2330 meals that would have cost £3175 to provide. On the day I was there, the app showed Tesco Surrey Quays had four boxes to pick up mostly of peppers and bananas. Islam who works in the fresh food department was making sure the boxes were ready for one of the community groups to pick up in the next hour.
“…We always ensure that it passes the WIBI test: Would I Buy It? If it would be in my basket, then it’s good to go to charity…”
Distribution across London
Once the surplus food is logged, the app notifies a range of charities, social enterprises and community groups across London that it is available. All of them have been vetted by FareShare to make sure they will keep and use the food well so their customers get a square meal from the donations. If one of them can use the food from Surrey Quays that day, they turn up at the right time and take it away free of charge. In total FareShare works with over 200 groups across the capital – such as homeless units, children’s breakfast clubs, older people’s lunch clubs and women’s refuges – who depend on the supply of surplus food to feed their vulnerable clients. And what Tesco and FareShare ensure is that people in need don’t go hungry and we tackle fresh food waste from our shops.
FoodCloud is the latest innovation in FareShare’s three-year partnership with Tesco. FareShare have accessed surplus food from Tesco’s supply chain, distribution centres and online centres, contributing toward 4.5 million meals
Fareshare – fighting hunger, tackling food waste
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