Approximately 7% of fresh produce harvested in the UK is never consumed. FerryFast and Waste Knot have partnered with FareShare to ensure that tonnes of delicious fresh produce is used even when labelled as imperfect or deemed surplus to requirement. Having redistributed over five million meals worth of fresh produce, a celebratory dinner has taken place at Newark College to celebrate FerryFast and Waste Knot’s phenomenal achievement.
FerryFast and Waste Knot began supporting FareShare’s Surplus with Purpose campaign in July 2019. FareShare assists producers like FerryFast in harvesting, packaging, and transporting their surplus food under the Surplus with Purpose Scheme, helping to cover the additional expenses. A network of thousands of charities and community organisations then prepare meals using the fresh produce. Between April 2021 and March 2022, FareShare provided those who were at danger of going hungry with the equivalent of 2.5 million meals per week.
“We’re incredibly grateful for our partnership with FerryFast & Waste Knot. Their support has enabled us, over the course of the pandemic and now in the cost-of-living crisis, to provide 5 million meals worth of good-to-eat surplus to people in need. They’ve also been a huge champion for our Surplus with Purpose scheme, helping smaller companies, farmers, and growers to redistribute surplus food to people, rather than letting it go to waste.”
Lindsay Boswell, CEO at FareShare
FerryFast Produce and Waste Knot are the first mixed produce suppliers to redistribute the equivalent of 5 million meals’ worth of food. Since July 2019, 2,162 tonnes of fresh produce have been redistributed, totalling over five million meals for those in need. Throughout 2022 alone, FerryFast and Waste Knot have supported 3,084 charities, by redirecting 573 tonnes of fresh produce to create 1,365,265 meals.
Dan Byrd, Sales Director at FerryFast, said: “Working with FareShare has been enlightening and has supplied context for the importance of reducing food waste. They allow us to use product that would otherwise go to waste and enables us to serve a segment of the community that is often neglected. We are incredibly proud to be a part of this achievement in redistributing 5 million meals worth of fresh surplus produce.”
To prevent food waste, Waste Knot links growers and logistics companies like FerryFast with food service businesses eager to pay for imperfect and surplus fresh produce. Waste Knot source produce from growers, that would otherwise be left to rot, disposed of in a landfill, subjected to anaerobic digestion, or utilised as animal feed. The produce does not adhere to the rigid cosmetic standards demanded by the conventional food distribution channels, even though it is still edible and tastes wonderful.
Jess Latchford, Director at Waste Knot, said: “We are over the moon to have achieved such an incredible milestone. Being a part of such a movement which strives to help those in need has been humbling, eye-opening and our biggest achievement to date. We have been able to reach this 5m meal mark with teamwork and a certified joint effort; putting fresh, nutritious, delicious produce at the heart of meals being served.”
A celebratory meal was hosted by Nottinghamshire Social Eating Network on January 26, 2023, at Newark College. Together, Restaurant Associates and Baxter Storey created a magnificent vegetarian feast using seasonal, excess fresh produce from FerryFast’s farms in the Vale of Evesham. This gave an opportunity to celebrate the incredible accomplishment as well as to see first-hand the impact these donated meals have had, and how social eating has reduced isolation whilst helping to build communities.
John Killington, Group Chef at Restaurant Associates, said: "One of our key values is 'community' as it aligns with our intent to leave a healthy footprint in the hearts and heads of our people and the communities around us. We are really proud to be supporting with this special occasion."
Lizzie Hennig, Company Nutritionist at BaxterStorey, said: "Being part of the event last week was a brilliant opportunity to collaborate as an industry and create something really special. A real example of bringing communities together through the power of food."
In the UK, Nottingham is the leading city in supplying social eating spaces that serve inexpensive, wholesome meals frequently made from leftover produce. The Nottinghamshire Social Eating Network was founded to fight hunger and isolation. It provides delicious meals to a variety of customers, including students, families, and elderly people, for affordable costs. Social eating links the need to eat with the desire to socialise with others over food. Newark College is a part of this successful Social Eating Network.
Mark Locking, CEO and Principal of the Lincoln College Group, said, "Working alongside local organisations has allowed students at Newark and Lincoln College to have accessibility to fresh, healthy and nutritious foods while studying. Importantly, we recognise how food can impact learning - it enables us - as an institution, to educate students regarding the benefits of eating fresh vegetables and fruit.”
By working with Waste Knot and FareShare, FerryFast is grateful and honoured to be able to fight food waste and help people in need. We appreciate the assistance with this wonderful event from Waste Knot, FareShare, Newark College, Nottinghamshire Social Eating Network, and the outstanding chefs from Baxter Storey and Restaurant Associates.