At FoodCycle, we aim to reclaim as much edible surplus food as possible, and empower our volunteers to serve healthy three-course meals to vulnerable people. In addition to running our projects, we encourage consumers and businesses to waste less, and we work to influence policy on food waste and food poverty.
We aim to encourage everyone to consider their use of resources more carefully. We want to prove that an engaged group of people really can make a difference, and can bring about positive environmental and social change by using neglected resources that exist in every community.
To achieve this, we’ve worked closely with the likes of Love Food Hate Waste and Recycle for London, who are doing fantastic work to change public attitudes towards food waste. We also provide tips and recipes for reducing food waste at home.
We also run campaigns dedicated to raising awareness about the reality and scale of food poverty in the UK. Our annual Breadline Challenge, which has raised over £15,000, generated significant discussion about food poverty and many other connected issues. It is important to us to challenge public perceptions on UK food poverty and who is affected, and raise awareness of the reality of the problem.
Retailers and the food industry
FoodCycle now works with all major UK supermarkets. We would like retailers to minimise food waste – and then to always prioritise human need above other methods of discarding surplus food such as anaerobic digestion, compost, or landfill. We want to bring about these changes so that other community groups can capitalise on these resources as well.
We support the food waste hierarchy below to prioritise how to deal with surplus food.
To divert as much food as possible away from landfill, we are working in partnership with FareShare, DEFRA (Department for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs), and WRAP (Waste and Resource Action Programme). We work with our patron Kerry McCarthy MP and sit on the London Food Board, helping to create new guidance for supermarkets on food waste policy in London. We also work closely with Tristram Stuart of Feeding the 5000, the Gleaning Network and Feedback.
Policy and Government
We believe that food poverty shouldn’t exist in a nation as wealthy as the UK – especially when so much perfectly edible food is being thrown away.
We have been involved with campaigns and reports including A Zero Hunger City in 2013 and the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) Inquiry into Food Waste and Food Poverty in 2014. This investigated the root causes behind the increasing levels of food poverty in the UK, culminating in the Feeding Britain report, which featured 77 key recommendations. FoodCycle has also been involved in the Food Redistribution Roundtable with WRAP, DEFRA, the Environment Secretary, all major retailers and representatives from other charities. You can read WRAP’s full evaluation here.
We are also a member of the Eating Better campaign, working to encourage people to eat less meat and more food that’s better for us and the planet.