Community Food Connection
Giving our surplus food direct from local stores to charities for free
About Community Food Connection
We believe that no food that could be eaten should go to waste – not on farms or factories, not in our shops and not in our customers' homes.
That's why we are committed to doing everything we can to make sure that where we have good quality surplus food, it is supplied to charities and community groups that help to feed those in need.
Our Community Food Connection programme, which is delivered in partnership with FareShare FoodCloud, will link our stores to local charities and community groups, working together to ensure that no good food goes to waste.
So far, we have donated enough food to provide over 6 million meals to over 3,800 charities and community groups across the UK. These include homeless shelters, substance abuse rehabilitation services, after-school clubs, foodbanks and domestic violence hostels. And we hope to work with an even wider range as we continue to roll out the programme across even more stores in the UK throughout the year.
Community Food Connection is the latest step in our ongoing work with food redistribution charity FareShare on the provision of surplus food. The partnership started three years ago and has included activities which make food available from the Tesco supply chain, Distribution Centres and Dotcom Centres. In total this has seen nearly 14.7 million meals worth of surplus food supplied to charities and community groups across the UK.
How it works
Tesco Stores upload estimates of their good quality unsold food to the FareShare FoodCloud app, which is on our own store devices (called "PDAs").
A local charity or community group receives a text telling them about the available food
The charity picks up the food they can use and turns it into meals for people in need
Watch how we're making a difference locally
Frequently asked questions about Community Food Connection at Tesco
- What is FareShare FoodCloud?
- FareShare FoodCloud is a partnership between UK food redistribution charity FareShare and Irish social enterprise FoodCloud which aims to connect stores that have surplus food with the charities and community groups that need it. At the heart of the scheme is the FareShare FoodCloud app, which our stores use to notify their local charities what food they have on any given day. Any of these charities can then let the store know that they want the food, and come in to the store to collect it for free.
- Where is the scheme launching now?
All our large stores will start donations by the end of year. We will start rolling out to our Convenience stores next year.
- Why do charities have to go through FareShare rather than going straight to the stores?
- We wanted to make this really simple for charities and community groups; cutting down the legwork and amount of admin they need to go through. FareShare can centrally match the needs of the charities and community groups with the right Tesco store or stores.
- What food is available?
The food is a mixture of items - typically it will be bakery products, fruit and vegetables and eggs. On occasion stores will also be able to donate chilled products such as meat, cheese and yogurt. These tend to be available in smaller quantities.
Charities will be able take items marked with a "use by" date that can be frozen on the evening of its end date. FareShare will provide training on how to do this safely, as well as providing cool boxes to maintain the chill chain during transportation.
- How much food can charities collect?
Typically donations are 1-4 trays of food. Stores use the FareShare FoodCloud app to give a daily estimate to the charities so that they can decide whether they want to collect what’s available that evening.
The charities do not need to take all the surplus food – only what is useful for them.
- What type of organisations are we looking for?
It's a real mixture. We are looking for not-for-profit organisations or community groups that offer food or meals to support their daily activities.
We need to ensure that all organisations are handling the food in an Environmental Health Office (EHO) registered premises. If the charities can't immediately meet the requirements, FareShare can provide some support in getting them to the right standards.
As well as organisations providing meals, we can also donate to those that redistribute food; such as foodbanks. However, these organisations will only be permitted to take low-risk foods, like bakery and produce.
- Does the organisation need to be a charity?
- No, not strictly. The organisation doesn't have to be a charity (within the legal meaning), but it does need to be a not-for-profit organisation or community group. This simply means that it is 'charitable' in its approach; such as a community project like a school breakfast club.
- How do we apply?
- Register your interest here; FareShare FoodCloud and the FareShare FoodCloud team will be in touch.
- Can customers ask for their favourite local charity to benefit from food?
We are not asking customers to nominate their favourite charities to us directly, like we have for other programmes we've run. But we are hoping that customers with a direct link to a charity that might benefit will encourage them to apply.
Charities and community groups should approach FareShare FoodCloud to register their interest at www.fareshare.org.uk/fareshare-foodcloud