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Asda Invests £20 Million to Help Food Poverty

February 9, 2018, 1:00 PM
  • Money will be used to redistribute food waste
  • Aims to help 1 million people in the next three years
  • Other supermarkets also doing food bank schemes
Asda is the latest supermarket to start a food bank project. Image: Getty

Asda is going to invest at least £20 million into a partnership with food redistribution charities FareShare and The Trussell Trust.

The aim is to help more than one million people out of food poverty over the next three years.

The money will go towards developing food distribution infrastructure used by the food chairities to get more fresh food into food banks.

The demand for food banks has risen massively in the past 10 years.

Last year over 1.8 million emergency food parcels were given out, so the scheme will help to relieve some of the pressure on food banks.

The main cause for the increase has been problems will the roll out of Universal Credit, and although the Government had pledged to try and solve this in the Budget, it is still creating problems.

Charities have said that they struggle to transport and store fresh food, and means those using food banks are reliant on mainly tinned and packet foods.

The investment will also fund support services in food banks, such as debt counselling and job advice, allowing people to begin to get themselves out of food poverty.

Asda has also recently announced that it will cut out its 5p bags in a move to become more environmentally friendly.

It is estimated that the partnership will enable FareShare and the Trussell Trust to provide an additional 24 million meals every year, give 500,000 more people access to fresh food in the UK and help one million people get themselves out of food poverty in the next three years.

Andy Murray, Asda’s Chief Customer Officer, said, “Right now in the UK, 8.4 million people are struggling to afford to eat.

“One in 10 people in the UK are missing meals to pay their bills, and one in four of those are children.

“Yet four million tonnes of perfectly decent food is wasted each year in the UK.

“We simply cannot and will not accept decent food being wasted whilst people in our communities go hungry.

“We’ve listened to our customers and want to take on their challenge to fight hunger and create change.”

Mark Ward, Chief Executive at the Trussell Trust, said, “Asda’s investment means they can expand their reach and develop new projects bringing very real, tangible benefits to local communities and to anyone struggling with food insecurity in a way that simple has not been possible before.”

Asda’s scheme is responding to an increase in demand for food banks. Image: Getty

The Independent Food Aid Network, however, has not seen the plan as positive, as it believes the money should be spent on fixing the root of the problem that causes people to turn to food banks.

A spokesperson from IFAN said, “IFAN is committed to finding ways to reduce the reliance on food banks.

“Experience from the US and Canada has shown that funding from the corporate food industry tends only to further institutionalise charitable food aid, does little to address food insecurity, and works to obscure inefficiencies and injustices in food production and food distribution systems.

“IFAN is therefore deeply disappointed with this recent announcement from ASDA, at a time when colleagues across the sector are seeking ways to move the UK away from its reliance on charitable food aid and address the wider problems of food insecurity.”

Tesco is also in partnership with the Trussell Trust and FareShare to help stock up food banks.

It has an annual four day long food collection just before Christmas, which has been ongoing since 2012 and has resulted in more than 40 million meals being donated.

Matt Davis, Chief Executive of Tesco, said, “Last year we provided more than 4 million meals worth of food to help people in need throughout different schemes, and this year hope to provide even more support.”

Last year, the East of England Co-operative also announced it is planning on cutting down on food waste, by reducing the price of products that are close to or past the ‘best before date’ to 10p.

Sainsbury’s also has a Food Donation Partnership with over 2,100 local charities.

Uf the supermarket has unsold food that’s approaching its best before or use by date, it tries to donate it to a local charity through food partnership.

Food that is donated includes fresh fruit and vegetables, dry goods like pasta and sugar, and bakery items made in store.

What do you think of the scheme? Let us know in the comments!

niseevans14over a year ago

Well done Asda!

Russelljmpover a year ago

I think that this is a brilliant and much needed scheme, it will help so many people and their family's in these very hard times. Well done to all concerned for doing something that help people that need it. No one should be going hungry anywhere, it's about time we helped our own.

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