Volunteer food redistribution

UK food redistribution 2015 to 2017

16th July 2018

The Government’s Food Waste Reduction Fund is awarded as new research from WRAP shows a significant increase in the amount of surplus food redistributed by UK charitable and commercial organisations. 

Key points
Charitable redistribution rose by around 80% over a two-year period, with an increase of 30% via commercial organisations (both 2015-2017).
The £500,000 government fund will help local charities provide the equivalent of an additional 6 million meals to people in need.
Eight charities and not-for-profit groups will receive grants from the Food Waste Reduction Fund.

The report 

The report covers 2015, 2016 and 2017 and analyses data provided by the UK’s largest redistribution bodies; accounting for the majority of all surplus food handled. 

The report shows that surplus food redistribution from retailers, manufacturers and hospitality and food services businesses increased by 50% in just two years. The combined increase for charitable and commercial redistribution brings the 2017 total to the equivalent of 102 million meals redistributed.

WRAPs research shows there is much more than can be achieved (200,000 tonnes from retail and manufacture, and additional surplus from hospitality and food service, primary production and others). 

Read our guidance on reporting on the amounts of food surplus redistributed


As part of this announcement, WRAP has amended the 2015 baseline for UK redistribution. The 2015 estimate for redistribution has reduced from 47,000 tonnes (published in 2016) to around 28,500 tonnes. This is due to both improvements to the research methodology, and to more robust and granular data from redistribution organisations.

“I am very pleased to see the increase in redistribution from 2015 to 2017 and that the manufacturing sector in particular is making a significant contribution to the overall achievement.
Tackling food waste wherever it occurs across supply chains is a key priority for FDF members, starting with the prevention of waste and surpluses from occurring in the first place, in accordance with the food waste hierarchy. Where surpluses cannot be avoided, we encourage members to redirect food to feed people as a first consideration. 
FDF and its members will continue to work with our supply chain and with the redistribution organisations within the framework of the WRAP Courtauld 2025 Working Group to help deliver further increases in the amount of surplus directed towards human consumption”. Helen Munday, Chief Scientific Officer, Food and Drink Federation
"It’s fantastic to see more businesses engaging in surplus food redistribution and the substantial increase in the amount of food redistributed to charities and community groups. Over the past year Plan Zheroes has helped redistribute food from football stadiums, an airport, food markets and even a small ice cream manufacturer - showing that all types of food businesses can engage in redistribution." Laura Hopper, CEO, Plan Zheroes

The fund 

Eight charities and not-for-profit groups will receive grants from the Government’s £500,000 Food Waste Reduction Fund, administered by WRAP, to provide essential resources needed to expand their important work. 

The eight charities and not-for-profit groups were chosen from more than 120 expressions of interest to the Fund and range from small to larger sized multi-site operations, located across England. Individual grants range from £40,000 to £75,000, which together will help the eight redistribute an additional 2,500 tonnes of quality food to feed people in need – the equivalent of around six million meals. 

Subject to contract, the eight charities receiving grants will demonstrate what can be achieved, encouraging others to follow suit in the future - with the C2025 Redistribution Working Group helping share best practice. They include:

  1. Action Homeless 
  2. His Church 
  3. FareShare 
  4. FareShare Yorkshire 
  5. Feedback Global 
  6. Food in Community 
  7. Nuneaton & Bedworth Healthy Living Network 
  8. REfUSE Durham 
 Full details of the charities can be found in the press release here