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IFCO partners with two leading UK food redistribution charities to tackle food waste and hunger

IFCO, the world's leading provider of Reusable Packaging Containers (RPCs) is expanding its support for FareShare and The Felix Project, two of the leading food redistribution charities in the UK.

The overriding goal of the three-way partnership is to make it easier, faster and cost neutral for producers, suppliers and retailers to donate their surplus food to the charitable organisations, while at the same time ensuring that FareShare and The Felix Project can deliver healthy fresh food to people in need more safely and efficiently.

Both organizations work closely with the food industry to source good surplus food that would otherwise go to waste, landfill or anaerobic digestion.

This collaboration agreement reinforces IFCO´s commitment to help reduce food waste in the fresh produce supply chain. In October 2022, the European Food Banks Federation (FEBA) selected IFCO as their official partner for Reusable Packaging Containers. Since then, food banks across Europe (including FareShare and the Felix Project) have already received donated sustainable RPCs to support their food distribution to charities.

While food donations are not a long-term solution to food poverty, IFCO recognizes that the professional redistribution of quality surplus food has an important role to play. For this reason, IFCO has now made it even easier for suppliers and retailers to donate fresh produce in IFCO RPCs into the FareShare and The Felix Project networks.

Although producers and retailers have always been able to transport food donations in IFCO RPCs, this partnership ensures the faster flow of fresh produce from even more suppliers through to food banks, as well as the simplified return of RPCs into the IFCO pooling system.

One aspect of the partnership taps into IFCO digital solutions, as both FareShare and The Felix Project now use the MyIFCO app to declare and schedule the pick-up of IFCO RPCs, ensuring a much smoother return process.

FareShare is the UK's largest charity fighting hunger and food waste. They work with the food industry to source and distribute over 50,000 tonnes of good surplus food to 8,500 organisations across the UK each year, the equivalent of around 128 million meals for vulnerable people. By being directly involved in the UK operation, IFCO is providing essential support to the charity.

Kris Gibbon-Walsh, Director of Network, Community & Operations at FareShare said: "IFCO has contributed to our mission in a strategic, pragmatic and impactful way. With IFCO on board, we have reduced the typical barriers that often prevent suppliers and retailers from donating surplus food, namely time, effort and costs.

"This partnership automatically expands our network of potential suppliers across the UK and internationally. Currently FareShare is experiencing skyrocketing demand due to the cost-of-living crisis, and so this support from IFCO is needed more than ever so that we can deliver more nutritious food to the people in our local communities who need it most."

The Felix Project is London's largest food redistribution charity. In 2022 they redistributed the equivalent of over 29 million meals and supplied food to every London Borough. It is part of the FareShare network, but also works independently to source over half of its own high quality surplus food, which is then delivered to around 1,000 charitable organisations and schools in the capital.

Richard Smith, Deputy Head of Food Supply at The Felix Project said: "The IFCO partnership has helped us to attract new suppliers, including manufacturers. In the past, some were keen to donate surplus food but were hesitant because of the potential extra cost or workload involved. Now, thanks to the support of IFCO, they are able and eager to become part of our network."

IFCO is determined to reduce food waste to make the global fresh grocery supply chain more sustainable. That's why IFCO RPCs are designed to protect fresh products along the entire value chain, so that the food arrives in better condition for a longer shelf life and is therefore less likely to end up in landfill.

Independent scientific studies have proven RPCs help reduce food waste across the supply chain, by providing superior product protection and ventilation. Since 2016, IFCO has partnered with FareShare to support their important mission to fight hunger and food waste and has been working with The Felix Project since 2020.

Neil Stewart, Asset Control Manager at IFCO who leads UK food bank collaboration, said: "We are proud and excited to be supporting FareShare and The Felix Project, two organisations that are so incredibly passionate about getting good surplus food to vulnerable people. We hope that our contribution means that more suppliers will join the network and more communities can be reached, particularly at a time when such services are so desperately needed.

On a more personal level, many of our UK IFCO employees have been so impressed by the impact of FareShare and The Felix Project that they will be using some of their annual paid volunteering leave to help at the food banks and distribution centres run by the charities. It's a sign that the UK IFCO team is fully committed to making this partnership work."

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