Tesco aims to collect five million meals in one weekend to help families in need

2 Jul 2014

Tesco customers and colleagues are getting ready to help people in need this summer as the retailer launches what it hopes will be the country’s biggest ever food collection this weekend [3rd-5th July].

Tesco customers and colleagues are getting ready to help people in need this summer as the retailer launches what it hopes will be the country’s biggest ever food collection this weekend [3rd-5th July].

Since December 2012, Tesco has hosted three Neighbourhood Food Collections that have collected an incredible 10 million meals for people in need around the UK. The record breaking last collection, hosted in December 2013, saw 4.3 million meals donated.

Tesco and its food collection partners, foodbank charity the Trussell Trust and food redistribution charity FareShare, hope to beat that total by collecting five million meals during this summer’s collection.

The ambitious target has been set after research revealed that people are usually less generous in the summer months than at other times of the year, particularly Christmas.  Just seven per cent of people surveyed said they are at their most charitable during the summer, compared to Christmas when 45 per cent say they give generously.

The problems faced by those in food poverty are just as acute in the summer, as many low-income families who normally receive free school meals have to find ways to make their budgets stretch to afford extra meals for their children.

The research also found that half of all parents (51 per cent) are worried about paying household bills this summer, with a quarter (24 per cent) of parents saying they have had to borrow to make ends meet.

The Neighbourhood Food Collection will be hosted in all Tesco stores across the UK, collecting food that will then be given to people in need through Trussell Trust foodbanks or redistributed to  community groups and other frontline charities that deal with food poverty by FareShare. In addition to the thousands of volunteers from Trussell Trust foodbanks and the FareShare network, hundreds of volunteers from the British Red Cross will once again be supporting the collection in some Tesco stores.

Chris Bush, Tesco UK Managing Director said: “We do everything we can to keep prices low for customers who are finding times tough, and we and our customers feel a big responsibility to help those who are really struggling to feed their families. 

“So far our Neighbourhood Food Collections have seen more than 10 million meals donated to help people in need, and I’d like to thank all our customers, colleagues and volunteers for their help in reaching that incredible total.

“It will be a real challenge to beat our existing record of 4.3 million meals donated in one collection, but I’ve been knocked out by the generosity our customers and colleagues have in the past, so I’m confident we can do it.”

As in previous collections, Tesco will be topping up total donations by a further 30%.

 Chris Mould, Trussell Trust Chairman says: “As school summer holidays approach, many of the UK's poorest parents are deeply concerned about being able to feed their children over the long break.

"Whilst the economy is showing signs of recovery, times are still very tough for families on the breadline and school holidays are particularly difficult as family finances can be stretched to breaking point in order to provide basic food for their children. During school holidays, foodbank volunteers meet parents who have been skipping meals to feed their children, and mums who cry tears of relief when they receive a food parcel that means the whole family can eat that night.

"In July and august 2013 Trussell Trust foodbanks alone gave emergency food to 133,539 people, including 47,639 children. This year that number is likely to increase.

"Many foodbanks will be running additional services to help families who will struggle during the holidays. We are urging shoppers at the Neighbourhood Food Collection to give generously to help ensure foodbanks have enough food to provide vital services to families in poverty.”

Lindsay Boswell, CEO of FareShare said: Over the last 12 months, we have seen a 41 per cent increase in the number of charities that we are able to support. This increase means that we are now providing food to over 1,290 charities, such as homeless charities, night shelters, drug and alcohol rehabilitation centres and domestic violence refuges to name a few. These frontline organisations feed 62,200 people every day and many are telling us that more people are turning to them for food.

“The Neighbourhood Food Collection is a great initiative that has provided enough food for 10 million meals since the first collection in December 2012 and we are hoping that the next collection will be even more successful. As the research shows, people are more generous at Christmas when it’s easier to remember those in need. However, we are urging people to give generously once more and not forget that the summer is also a difficult time for many as they struggle to provide for their families during the long break”.


Notes to editors

Tesco works hard year round to keep prices low for customers. This year we have cut the price of 60 products that really matter to customers, including milk, eggs, butter and many fruits and vegetables, by an average of 24 per cent.

The retailer also aims to help them spend less money on fuel, which customers consistently cite as a concern, through its Fuel Save offer, which gives customers up to 20p per litre off the cost of filling up their tank simply by shopping at Tesco.

For media enquiries on the Neighbourhood Food Collection please contact Alasdair Gee in the Tesco press office on 01992 644 645/ Alasdair.Gee@uk.tesco.com or Devries SLAM on 0207 067 0025/ emmat@devries-slam.com

For media enquiries on the Trussell Trust and information on case studies, please contact Molly Hodson or Hannah McMullen in the Trussell Trust press office on 01722 580 182 or via email: Molly.Hodson@trusselltrust.org or Hannah.McMullen@trusselltrust.org

For media enquiries on FareShare and information on case studies, please contact Suzy Lally in the FareShare press office on 07415 241 328 or via email: suzy.lally@fareshare.org.uk

Join the Neighbourhood Food Collection appeal on Twitter: #everycanhelps and Facebook: http://en-gb.facebook.com/tescoJoin the Neighbourhood Food Collection appeal on Twitter: #everycanhelps and Facebook: http://en-gb.facebook.com/tesco

Research was carried out by Censuswide using a sample of 4,000 adults across the UK, 2,000 of whom were parents with children under the age of 16.

About FareShare:

  • FareShare provides food to over 1,290 charities across the UK, including homeless shelters, women’s refuge centers, breakfast clubs for children and luncheon clubs for older people
  • Last year the food redistributed by FareShare contributed towards more than 12 million meals and now helps to feed 62,200 vulnerable people every day
  • Demand for their services is rising at an alarming rate. 59% of their member charities have had more people turning to them for food. 70% fear demand for their services will only increase in the future
  • The majority of the food FareShare redistributes is surplus and would otherwise go to waste. This is mainly fresh produce, such as fruit, vegetables and meat. The food collection with Tesco allows them to get hold of long life products that rarely become surplus, so they can provide their member charities with even more just in time for the summer
  • Surplus food is any food that does not have a commercial outlet anymore but is within date. It has become surplus for various reasons including overproduction, incorrect labelling and damaged packaging
  • The charities they support offer not only a meal but invaluable support to some of the poorest people in the UK. When receiving food from FareShare each charity saves an average of £13,000 a year on their food bill.
  • Find out more: www.fareshare.org.uk/

About the Trussell Trust:

  • Trussell Trust foodbanks provide three days’ non-perishable emergency food and support to people in crisis
  • The Trussell Trust runs an award-winning network of over 400 community-based foodbanks across the UK
  •  In 2013/14 financial year Trussell Trust foodbanks gave three days’ emergency food to 913,138 people, including over 300,000 children. Numbers helped have increased by 163% in the last year
  • 90% food given out by foodbanks is donated by the public, which is why the Tesco collection is so important
  • Everyone who comes to a foodbank is referred by a frontline care professional, ensuring that the need is genuine
  • As well as giving out food, foodbanks take time to listen, and signpost clients to other local agencies and charities who can help them resolve the underlying cause of their crisis.Eg. Someone who comes to them with debt issues will be referred to a local debt counsellor so that the client is helped out longer term. Clients say ‘the emotional support was almost as good as the food’
  • Find out more: www.trusselltrust.org or facebook: Trusselltrust  twitter: @TrussellTrust

For more information please contact the Tesco Press Office on
01992 644645

We are a team of over 500,000 people in 12 markets dedicated to providing the most compelling offer to our customers.