In 2013/14, Oxfam and Church Action on Poverty calculated that over 20 million meals were delivered to people in food poverty by three of the main food aid providers – a 50% increase on the year before. But with UK businesses sending 2.5 million tonnes of food to landfill every year, surely it’s time to connect the two together?

Plan Zheroes started with a small group of London citizens, with the aim of inspiring food businesses to donate their surplus food to those who need it. Their values and principles are based around working together with others, to make complex issues simpler and develop practical solutions to problems.

Co-founder Lotti Henley, an 88-year-old Austrian aristocrat and WWII refugee, has experienced real hunger firsthand, having once had to trade her shoes for a loaf of bread to feed herself and her sister. Her vision that one day no one will be living in food poverty and no good food will be wasted has been passed on to Plan Zheroes.

Since being elected as one of 15 projects to make London a more sustainable food city in 2011, they have now launched a web platform and mobile app to link businesses, such as restaurants, cafés and hotels, with local, community groups to prevent perfectly edible food from being sent to landfill.

Here’s how it works:

  • When a business has surplus food to donate, they upload their information online
  • Nearby charities receive a notification of the available food and can then claim it
  • Volunteers in the local area get involved by helping to transport the food

By using mobile technology to connect users, food can be redistributed quickly and easily.

Plan Zheroes

If you are a food business interested in joining, Plan Zheroes will give you all the help you need to ensure the process is as smooth as possible.

Alternatively, they are also on the lookout for volunteers to assist with logistics and the transportation of surplus food. If you aren’t able to help in this capacity, you might be better suited to building networks by spreading the word to local businesses or food charities in your area that could benefit from signing up.

To become a food waste hero, visit www.planzheroes.org

Photographs: Toyota UK and Plan Zheroes

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