Culina Group has reached a milestone in its partnership with food charity FareShare. By diverting to FareShare top-quality food that cannot be sold to the consumer, Culina Group has contributed 218 tonnes – the equivalent of 500,000 meals – since the scheme started in May 2017.
Surplus food from 23 of Culina Group's clients, including leading brands such as Innocent, Unilever and General Mills, has been redistributed to 1,893 frontline charities across the UK via FareShare, covering school breakfast clubs, community centres and cafes in deprived areas, hostels for homeless people and after-school clubs.
Rather than going to waste, as was previously the case, the food is now diverted to FareShare via a user-friendly process developed by Culina Group. It delivers surplus food – which never reaches a consumer because of issues such as forecasting, mislabelling or promotional items not selling as well as expected – in a process that is, in fact, cheaper for its clients than it would have been to have disposed of it as waste.
HOW DOES IT WORK?
Culina Group initially advises its clients if it is holding any short-life product and asks if they want to provide it to FareShare. If the client confirms, Culina Group liaises with FareShare to advise a delivery location, depending on which of the charity's Regional Centres is most in need of the food. Culina Group then delivers the product to FareShare and charges the cost back to its client.
This process has proved to be cheaper than other disposal methods once additional costs such as return of food, collection costs for food bins, landfill tax, and labour to remove packaging are taken into account.
“This is a brilliant, innovative scheme," said Lindsay Boswell, CEO of FareShare. "Culina Group are using their excellent business relationships and influence within the food industry to incentivise more donations to FareShare. Thanks to this scheme, many more food businesses are not only aware of FareShare, but now deciding to do the right thing with their surplus food by sending it to us instead of to landfill.
“Half a million meals from 23 clients is a fantastic achievement in 2017. We look forward to doing more in the years to come.”
Culina Group client Innocent describes its collaboration with FareShare as extremely rewarding and a perfect fit for their business, and were instrumental in helping Culina Group get its scheme up and running. Leonie Straatman, Head of Warehousing Logistics at Innocent, said: “When it comes to our drinks, we’re really keen to make sure that nothing goes to waste, so we’ve been working with FareShare to help deliver juice and smoothies to people who really need them. Their work to redistribute food and drink to vulnerable people all over the UK fits the innocent values to a tee, so we deliver our drinks to 16 of FareShare’s Regional Centres from Bristol all the way to Edinburgh.
“We’re chuffed to say that we recently a hit a milestone with FareShare and have now provided over 1.5 million portions of fruit to people who need it the most.
“Partnering with FareShare works so well for us that we asked our warehousing partner, Culina Group, to share our process and successes with their other clients, to show them it’s easier than they might think. We’re thrilled to hear that this has brought many more of their clients on board, so that even more surplus food is going to people who can really use it.”
Sian Davies, who leads the project for Culina Group, added: “We found that the biggest barrier for food companies sending surplus stock to charities is the cost of transporting it. If making your company’s surplus food available to FareShare is actually cheaper than disposing of it, then it’s a no-brainer. This is what Culina Group has made possible for our clients. This is something we want to highlight, so we can encourage others in the industry to follow suit, essentially making it easy and financially viable to do the right thing with surplus food.”