More than 50 Northern Ireland-based charities which support people who are struggling, vulnerable or at risk, are to benefit from a new partnership between Asda NI and food redistribution charity, FareShare, which is operated by local charity Council for the Homeless NI.
The initiative will see surplus food stocks from Asda’s supply chain, much of which previously went to waste, now being redistributed to FareShare’s depot in Belfast, for local use. This will save over 58 tonnes of food from going to waste, and will result in 138,000+ meals being served up to vulnerable and homeless people throughout Northern Ireland.
The pioneering supply chain model is part of a UK-wide operation by Asda and will see a 41% 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, including the 100+ companies which are based in Northern Ireland, 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.
Aubrey Swift, Regional Operations Manager for Asda Northern Ireland said: “It’s hard to believe that food poverty is a very real problem and it’s 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.”
Méabh Austin, CHNI 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.
“Diverting food away from the waste stream will have an immense environmental impact and it will also help local charities save many thousands of pounds a year - funds which they can reinvest into providing additional support services for those most in need.”