App to Tackle Food Waste and Poverty gets Backing from Businesses Spanning Entire Food Chain
Successfully garnering support from businesses across the county that represent every area in the food chain, Produced in Kent is offering a solution that will help reduce the 6.4 million tonnes of edible food wasted each year with the launch of the Food Loop app.
From growers to charities, support is coming in thick and fast for the app that helps to put more surplus food on the table for those in need and less in the anaerobic digester or landfill.
Food Loop Champions
The following businesses are the latest to pledge their support for the ground-breaking app,
- Berry Gardens – Co-operative of British berry and cherry growers
- Growing Kent and Medway – an £18m project stimulating research, innovation, and enterprise in Kent’s horticultural food and drink sector
- AC Hulme–Fruit & Livestock farmer
- Simply Ice Cream – Food Producer
- Macknade– Retailer
- Karara– Catering
- Fareshare Kent– Charity
Food Loop is the first food waste app that links business to business, introducing suppliers of surplus food across the food chain – growers, producers, retail, and hospitality – to ‘takers’: businesses using surplus food for their product, or charities and community initiatives who redistribute surplus food to those who need it most. Food Loop enables any foods that would have been transported to landfill or anaerobic digestor, to be repurposed and redistributed.
Nick Allen, Chief Executive Officer at Berry Garden, a co-operative of British berry growers and the UK’s largest supplier of the nation’s berries and cherries, comments: “As a large business in Kent and with a number of grower members also located in the area, we are proud to be in partnership with Food Loop. Food waste remains a problem throughout the food supply chain and this initiative is an excellent way to gain collaboration from across the industry and develop a joint consensus to reduce food waste.
“As a business, we are committed to establishing responsible business initiatives and this is just one of the ways we are working with our customers, grower members, and supply chain to help tackle surplus food waste.”
Berry Gardens is part of the Growing Kent and Medway (GKM) project, another passionate supporter of Food Loop. Nicola Harrison, Programme Director for Growing Kent & Medway, says: “We are investing in activities across the Kent and Medway area that help businesses to develop and deliver sustainable technologies, products, and practices in the horticultural food and drink sector.
“Innovative approaches to reducing food waste, such as the Food Loop app, will benefit communities across the region, and also help to bolster the region as a world-leader in climate-smart, environmentally sustainable food production.”
Businesses throughout Kent’s food and drink supply chain are joining as champions.
Shane Godwin MD of Food Loop Champion Macknade comments, “This is such an important app and one which we are proud to support. It’s imperative that Kent’s food & drink businesses get involved in the bigger conversation surrounding food waste and do what they can to help put surplus food on the tables of people who need it most. We are delighted to be amongst the other Kent businesses that are supporting Food Loop.”
Macknade is taking its Food Loop Championship seriously. Together with the Chairman of the National Cherry and Soft Fruit Show (NCSFS), Tom Hulme, of Food Loop Champion AC Hulme, decided that 50% of the proceeds of soft fruit sold at the NCSFS, which is taking place at Macknade on the 23rd of July, will be donated to Food Loop. A big boost for the Food Loop crowdfunding campaign that brings money together to develop and run a 12-month pilot to test the app.
Tom comments, “AC Hulme & Sons are delighted to join the Food Loop community. As a Champion and Kent grower, we can convince other businesses to become involved in reducing Kent’s food waste, becoming more sustainable, and supporting those in the local community who need our help.”
Sally Newall of Food Loop Champion Simply Ice cream is similarly determined to make a change: “It’s now more important than ever to support initiatives like the food loop to ensure that we are all doing what we can to cut food waste as much as possible. This initiative is a fantastic way of connecting retailers, hospitality, producers, and growers to ensure we get more food and drink onto plates and into glasses to stop the massive amount of waste that is generated across our industries.”
So just how big is the problem?
6.4 million tonnes of edible food are wasted each year. Of that, an estimated 1.6 million tonnes are lost before it even leaves the farm where it was grown or produced, the equivalent of 15 billion meals which is enough to feed the UK population for 11 weeks1. In 2020/21 2.5 MILLION emergency food parcels were handed out across the country. Over 300k of which went to families in the South East2.
Paul Babra, of Food Loop Champion Karara adds, “As a local business, and inspired by our Sikh religious beliefs, we support local charities with donated freshly prepared curries. Food Loop will help us get fresh produce that would otherwise go to waste and enables us to keep feeding our community healthy food. We are thrilled to be a FOODLOOP champion and one of the first backers of the initiative!”
Kareen McDonald from Fareshare Kent comments “Despite being wholly concerned with distributing good quality surplus food, we are aware that there is so much more that can be done at a local level, which also helps reduce food waste and carbon emissions caused by excessive transportation to other parts of the country. Kent has the opportunity to be a pioneer in introducing new ways to distribute surplus food within our county to those who need it or can use it. Food Loop will be instrumental in effecting this change in a structured and achievable way.”
By working together, businesses across Kent can contribute to actively reduce food waste and help redistribute surplus food to those who need it most. Food Loop links charities, retailers, food businesses, growers, and producers to close the loop and ensure that less food goes to anaerobic digesters or landfills.