Some of the UK’s biggest supermarkets have implemented food bank partnerships as part of their corporate responsibility.
One example is Neighbourly – a food charity organisation working closely with supermarkets such as Aldi, Lidl, and Marks & Spencer. Each of them has a food surplus redistribution programme that has been running from all of their stores over the past few years. Through the programme, good quality surplus food is donated to local causes that use it to feed those in need.
As part of Lidl’s ‘Feed it Back’ scheme, food donation boxes have been rolled out across its stores nationwide. So far it has donated 6.72 million meals and has supported over 2600 different causes.
Marks & Spencer has donated overall 21.47 million meals to charities and organisations and is supporting over 5 000 different causes.
Aldi is taking a similar stance by pledging to donate 10 million meals to families in need in 2021 through its partnership with Neighbourly.
Jane Halstead, Community manager at Neighbourly, said: “At the start of the pandemic each of these retailers contributed to the Neighbourly Community Fund which was set up in response to the emergency need arising in our communities as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. In total, the fund distributed £1.2M in emergency funding to over 3,100 local causes (this was in 2020).
“There will be further donation programmes throughout 2021 however these haven’t been fully announced yet”.
Meanwhile, Tesco has been working in partnership with the foodbank charity Trussell Trust since 2012. They have outlined how low-income families can benefit from ‘Healthy Start’ coupons that can be used in any Tesco store. Alongside the coupons, Tesco has also announced free school meal vouchers that will be accepted in all stores with those who are recipients of the vouchers being able to claim them during school holidays as well.
As part of Asda’s Fight Hunger Create Change programme they work together with the food charity FareShare – donating the equivalent of five million meals in the last three years and three million meals in 2020 alone.
They have also donated £23 million across two years to FareShare and the Trussell Trust food bank.
Waitrose, along with other leading UK food companies, is supporting Marcus Rashford’s Child Food Poverty Task Force. It has food bank collection points in all its shops. These collections go to the Trussell Trust or local independent food banks.
Waitrose shops also support a number of local independent charities, community groups, and causes throughout the year; many of which fight homelessness.
Waitrose & Partners spokesperson added: “We’re committed to supporting those most in need in our local communities and we have a number of initiatives in place, including donating surplus food at the end of each day to FareShare, having food bank collection points in all our shops, and supporting local charities.”