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New research reveals how FareShare food network supports people experiencing food poverty

24 January 2014

Research published today by NatCen Social Research reveals the experiences of vulnerable people in Britain reliant on food supplied by the FareShare network.

The report “From food waste to fighting hunger: Exploring FareShare” details, through qualitative interviews, how a wide range of people from women who have experienced domestic violence, to homeless people and the elderly benefit from FareShare food.

FareShare, the national charity fighting hunger and food waste, redistributes surplus food from the UK food industry to over 1,000 frontline charities and community groups.

The research explores the importance of the FareShare network in providing cooked meals and other support services to people in deprived parts of Britain; showing how the service not only gives people access to food, but also supports emotional and physical wellbeing. 

The FareShare footprint

The report also examines the extent of FareShare’s food footprint, mapping Britain’s most deprived areas against the reach of the FareShare depots and that of their recipient charities, who cook and serve the food that FareShare provides.

NatCen’s research revealed that more than three quarters of the most deprived areas in Britain are within a deliverable distance of one of FareShare’s food depots and that more than half (53%) are within two kilometres of a FareShare charity.

Jasmin Keeble, Researcher at NatCen Social Research, said: “Our research has revealed the vital role that the FareShare network plays, not just in providing much needed food, but also the other important support services FareShare’s partner charities offer alongside a cooked meal.

Moreover, while our data shows that FareShare’s distribution network is ideally located to cater for many poor communities, it also highlights potential for expansion for FareShare and its partners.”

For more information, please contact naomi.joyner@natcen.ac.uk 020 7549 9550/07734 960 069 or leigh.marshall@natcen.ac.uk on 020 7549 8506/07828 031 850

ENDS

Notes to editors

  • The qualitative element of the research consisted of interviews with staff, volunteers and beneficiaries at five FareShare Network member charities based in England and Scotland.
  • Geographic Information System (GIS) was used to map FareShare’s food footprint. 
  • NatCen: NatCen Social Research is an independent, not for profit organisation. We believe that social research has the power to make life better. By really understanding the complexity of people’s lives and what they think about the issues that affect them, we give the public a powerful and influential role in shaping decisions and services that can make a difference to everyone.
  • FareShare: FareShare fights hunger and its underlying causes by redistributing surplus food to more than 1,000 charities across the UK including homeless shelters, children’s breakfast clubs and luncheon clubs for the elderly, helping to feed 51,000 people every day. These charities offer not only a meal but invaluable support to some of the poorest people in our society.

Most of the food FareShare’s delivers is surplus and would have otherwise gone to waste. It is still in-date and good to eat, but has become surplus for simple reasons such as over-production, labelling errors or short shelf-life.

To find out more and see how you can be involved: www.fareshare.org.uk