Four food redistribution companies will share £4m to cut down on food waste across England, Defra has announced.
Fareshare, Company Shop Group, The Felix Project and Food Works Sheffield will receive the first part of a £15m scheme, which was launched in January by Environment Secretary Michael Gove.
As part of the selection exercise, each project put forward their proposals on how they would spend the money to reduce waste and take more surplus food from manufacturers and retailers. Solutions include developing new supply routes from growers and local distributors, funding new lines and additional staff and increasing capacity for repackaging and labelling.
The next round of funding will focus on improving infrastructure for companies so that they can redistribute more food waste.
The UK produces 10.2 million tonnes of food waste every year, with 1.8 million tonnes coming from food manufacture, 1 million from the hospitality sector, and 260,000 from retail, with the remainder from households.
Food Surplus and Waste Champion Ben Elliot said: ‘Following a competitive bidding process, I am delighted to announce that these four brilliant organisations have been awarded with funding from the £15 million scheme announced back in January.
‘These organisations are on the frontline, working diligently towards a waste-less future by ensuring that perfectly good food does not end up in the bin. It’s only right that this vital work is recognised accordingly.’
Environment Minister Thérèse Coffey said: ‘Food waste is unnecessary and morally unforgivable. We must end it, and our £15m fund is a true game-changer in making that happen.
‘I am thrilled that this first round of funding will allow these terrific projects to redistribute even more perfectly good food, making sure it ends up where it belongs – on people’s plates and stomachs.’
Next week (May 13), Ben Elliot will host the ‘Step up to the Plate’ symposium alongside Michael Gove, and the government has called on businesses to sign a pledge to reduce food waste.