Asda has revealed plans to save up to 1,653 tons (1,500 tonnes) of food waste a year through an innovative new partnership with charity Fareshare that will see leftover stock given to needy families.
Fareshare, which recently revealed it feeds nearly 44,000 people per day, up nearly 20 percent since last year, will start taking chilled surplus stock from Asda.
Supermarkets are left with surplus stock if their suppliers send too much of a particular product to a depot. Asda cannot sell the product as it is still technically owned by the supplier, so they send it back, but chilled food is often spoilt by the time it is returned.
High-profile campaigns involving UK supermarkets such as Tesco and Sainsbury's over the past year already have helped Fareshare to reach more people, but the new deal with Asda is expected to increase the amount of food it distributes by 41 percent.
Over the course of the year, Asda expects to give away 3.6 million free meals, which equates to nearly 10,000 per day.
The model also is expected to help reduce the 7.9 million tons (7.2 million tonnes) of food wasted in the UK every year by around 1,653 tons. Fareshare expects to save US$6.9 million (£4.5m) each year, which it otherwise would have had to spend buying food.
Barry Williams, chief merchandising officer for food at Asda, said the new partnership would help tackle two key challenges facing the UK today.
"Food poverty is a very real problem and it's getting worse, not better," he said. "Through our new supply chain model and work with Fareshare, I'm proud that we're able to help feed millions of vulnerable people around the UK who would otherwise go hungry.
"However, we recognize that in this environment, even more needs to be done. I hope that our work will inspire other retailers to work together to find new ways of redistributing food wasted in the supply chain to those who need it most."
The Asda Foundation also has announced it will invest US$153,270 (£100,000) to help Fareshare increase the size of its depots and to invest in transport, logistics and labor.
This article originally appeared at BusinessGreen and is reprinted with permission.
Food waste image by Kimberly Palmer via Shutterstock.