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Charity Partnership Approach Ensures Surplus Food Reaches Those in Need

By Celena Fernandez, Head of Environment, Compass Group UK & Ireland

In the UK alone, the foodservice sector throws away one million tonnes of food; 75% of which could have been eaten in some form.[1] That is why tackling food waste is one of our key focus areas in relation to our wider sustainability framework. As the UK’s largest food and support services provider, we not only have a responsibility but also an opportunity to make a real difference in the fight against food waste. 

As a business, we have identified a three-pronged approach to minimise waste. This includes prevention - to reduce the amount of food waste that goes unsold/uneaten; recovery - to donate surplus food to people in need and recycling - to divert food waste from the sewer and landfill.

In line with our recovery initiative, we redistribute surplus food within our community when products are still within date and fit for consumption. Since 2014, we have partnered with FareShare which passes food on to local charities who then make it into meals for less fortunate or vulnerable groups, and since the start of 2018, our distribution centres have donated nearly 40 tonnes of surplus food, the equivalent of 93,000 meals. We also work with online food redistribution charities across the UK and Ireland, as well as local charities and community groups. In addition to food donation, Compass also donates equipment and facilities, such as wooden chopping boards, knives, crockery and cutlery.

We recently received thanks from charity partner - The Salvation Army, who we work with at our head office in Chertsey. They shared with us the journey of our recent donations including powdered soups, cake mixes, dressings/sauces and cans of fruit which were shared amongst local community café’s, run on a "pay if you can" basis, local churches and a church in Sunbury which held a "feeding of the 5,000" last June.

In addition to this our jam and preserves donations have been distributed to The Salvation Army and used at their South London Division spring gatherings of The Salvation Army CAMEO clubs. A significant amount of jam and fruit has been shared with their Wandsworth Corps for their distribution and use, plus individual jams have been used to accompany gifts of homemade scones at Easter.

Penny Potter, Community Support Worker, The Salvation Army said: “Thank you so much for the continuing support of the Compass Innovation Centre in our community work.”

Samantha Lai, Commercial Officer at FareShare added: "The food we receive from Compass Group is an incredible lifeline for the thousands of charities we support who use the food to create healthy nutritious meals for vulnerable people. We and they are incredibly grateful for their support."

We are delighted that we have been able to work with a number of fantastic partners to ensure surplus food is consumed and not wasted. We can all do more to think more creatively about minimising food waste.


[1] http://www.wrap.org.uk/food-drink/business-food-waste/hospitality-food-service

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