Food rescue partnership kicks off

A food rescue partnership could potentially expand food rescue operations to 15,000 more hospitality outlets.

Food Collective is a partner-initiative launched by Unilever Food Solutions, KiwiHarvest and Kaibosh food rescue.

The anti-waste campaign has set its sights on minimising the more than 122,000 tonnes of food being thrown away by Kiwis every year.

Unilever New Zealand head of business Reece McLaughlan said the partnership is targeting hospitality outlets to donate more food to charity.

“That’s really the area that we sort of play at the moment, so that’s the area we can influence.”

McLaughlan estimates there are about 15,000 potential food service outlets that Unilever could make donations on the behalf of from restaurants to retirement villages, school tuck shops, pubs and childcare facilities.

McLaughlan said the level of food waste in New Zealand was “quite scary”.

Joining the programme is free for food service outlets and they get monthly updates from Unilever showing them how many meals they have donated and funds they’ve raised, which they can advertise to customers.

For every case of Unilever Food Solutions purchased, the company donates 50 cents to KiwiHarvest and Kaibosh, it also facilitates contact between the food charities and food outlets to discuss what food can be rescued, and awards food outlets reward gift cards they can donate back to the charities.

McLaughlan said the programme was very aligned with the Unilever “sustainable living plan”, which is one of the core principles of Unilever doing business.

Unilever has committed to donating a “bare minimum” of 60,000 meals between the first of June and the end of the year, McLaughlan said.

“Hopefully it’s a lot more than that,” he said.

KiwiHarvest and Kaibosh have donated over five million meals to their communities to date.

KiwiHarvest CEO and Founder Deborah Manning said the Food Collective initiative was an “important step” to address the high carbon footprint issue of food waste and redirect it towards people in need.

“Together we can make a difference,” she said.

Kaibosh general manager Matt Dagger said alleviating food insecurity and minimising waste could only be achieved with public support.

“The Food Collective allows the food industry to contribute to our work whilst going about their everyday business,” he said.

Supermarkets have long partnered with Kaibosh and KiwiHarvest to rescue unsold food.

Foodstuffs’ New World and Pak ‘n Save food waste minimisation programme has diverted over 23,000 tonnes of food from landfill and redistributed it through food rescue groups.

Countdown donates over $3.5 million of surplus food to rescue charities annually, and another $1.2m to local farmers as feed for animals.

Kaibosh Food Rescue in Wellington recently received $15,000 from Countdown to go towards its All Taste, No Waste annual fundraising event plus a special donation of an additional $25,000 in relation to the significant impact the November earthquakes had on its operations, resulting in moving premises.

KiwiHarvest in Auckland received $25,000 to purchase a 20 foot freezer container which will enable it to receive donations of frozen product.


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