FoodCycle uses surplus food as a catalyst to strengthen communities. They run 18 volunteer-powered community projects across the UK, where volunteers collect perfectly edible food that would otherwise go to waste and turn these ingredients into healthy three-course meals for people at risk of food poverty and social isolation.
At least 400,000 tonnes of food is wasted at retail level each year, yet over 4 million people are affected by ‘food poverty’ in the UK. Food poverty can be defined as the inability to obtain healthy affordable food. This may be because people lack shops in their area or have trouble reaching them. Other factors influencing food access are the availability of a range of healthy goods in local shops, income, transport, fear of crime, knowledge about what constitutes a healthy diet, and the skills to create healthy meals. Due to this complex mix of factors, people on low incomes have the lowest intakes of fruit and vegetables and are far more likely to suffer from diet-related diseases such as cancer, diabetes, obesity and heart disease.
Each month FoodCycle serves around 2,400 meals, created using almost 3,000kg of reclaimed surplus food – the equivalent of saving 13,221kg in CO2 emissions.