Tesco Ireland today launched The Community Chill Campaign, which provides funding for food related good causes to buy fridges and freezers so they can receive more surplus food donations to help people in need. In Co. Donegal Tesco has donated over 58,300 meals to charitable groups and organisations since 2014. This initiative will help these organisations, and even more across the county, to increase their storage capacity and provide even more food to those in need.
The Community Chill aims to overcome one of the biggest obstacles to local good causes taking more surplus food; which is their lack of storage facilities. Since becoming the first retailer to launch a nationwide food surplus programme in 2014, Tesco has donated to 4 million meals of surplus food to over 260 community groups across Ireland.
Tesco also announced a commitment that no surplus food that's suitable for human consumption will go to waste in its stores by 2020. Last week, Tesco became the first retailer in Ireland to publish its food waste data which will provide the insight to help the company meet this target and support its food waste reduction agenda.
Speaking about the initiative and the company's dedication to tackling food waste in its business, Andrew Yaxley, Tesco Ireland Chief Executive said; "At Tesco we believe that it's simply not right that perfectly good surplus food should go to waste when there are people in our local communities who need it. That's why we've set an ambitious target that no food that is suitable for human consumption will go to waste in our stores in Ireland by 2020."
"Working in partnership with over 260 charitable groups around the country and listening to their feedback we have identified that the charitable sector need a helping hand to increase their storage facilities so they can redistribute even more surplus food to those in need. So to support, we're launching an exciting new initiative to donate brand new fridges and freezers to groups who currently collect surplus food donations from us, or who want to sign up to take part."
Charitable groups countrywide can apply from today on www.tesco.ie/notimeforwaste to be in with a chance to receive a brand new fridge or freezer from a selection of refrigeration equipment that best suits their needs. The initiative is part of Tesco's No Time for Waste strategy which aims to minimise food waste and increase surplus food donations at Tesco stores nationwide.
The 260 local groups already realising the benefits of Tesco's surplus food donations include family resource centres, soup kitchens, youth services, homeless organisations, the elderly and more. These donations have enabled the charitable sector to save over €5.8 million off their food bills to date, as reported by FoodCloud, empowering them to invest in additional support services across the country.
Denis Naughten T.D., Minister for Communications, Climate Action & Environment welcomed the news: "Tesco has led the way in establishing a food surplus donations programme and today's commitment that no surplus food that's suitable for human consumption will be wasted by 2020 is very welcome.
The launch of the Community Chill addresses the issue of storage capacity for hundreds of local groups. Tesco is also the first retailer in Ireland to recently publish its food waste data leading the industry on transparent food waste reporting at this level. I believe this is central to tackling the issue of food waste and it's time for other businesses to follow suit. I look forward to driving this conversation forward in the future."
The Doorway Project has benefited in Co. Donegal. Speaking about this new initiative, Sorca Mac Elhinney said; "Providing food to those in need across the community is really important to us. Through Tesco's food waste programme, we have been able to cater for more people across the county. One of the challenges we face in our organisation is storage space. If we had more space we would be able to take more food through Tesco's food waste programme. That's why we're really excited about 'The Community Big Chill' initiative which will ultimately help us give more back to the community."
Martin McCloskey, Store Manager, Tesco, Letterkenny commented: "''We went out to the Doorway Project last Friday (15th Sept). They told me how they use our surplus food donations to re-distribute food parcels to 96 families every week. Incredibly, most of the people who use their service are in employment but are struggling to pay food bills because of the burden of rents and mortgages. Letterkenny would not be considered a poor area so it's hard to believe this kind of hardship exists, it really was a humbling experience. Overall though it was incredibly worthwhile to go out and visit. At Tesco we are often very operational but when you get out and see the human impact this programme is having it changes your perception entirely. Fresh meat and fruit & veg are the most beneficial products they receive from us but in order for them to take more donations from the store in Letterkenny they would need additional storage space in their facility to freeze the food.'
Tesco is proud to be a founding partner of FoodCloud since 2013 and continues to work closely with them to deliver its surplus food donations programme. Donations are typically comprised of fresh fruit and veg, bakery and meat and Tesco donates on average the equivalent of over 40,000 meals per week.
Tesco is today calling for more charitable groups who could benefit from its surplus food donations to please get in contact with them at www.tesco.ie/notimeforwaste or by dropping into their local Tesco store.