Measuring social impact in the redistribution of surplus food stock

Project team

Around a third of the food produced in the world is wasted - in the UK, that means approximately 300,000 tonnes of food are wasted at retail and wholesale level. Yet, according to the Food Foundation, in 2014, an estimated 8.4 m people in the UK were living in food insecure households; i.e. households with insufficient food.

The combination of a growing awareness of the scale of food waste and concerns about food insecurity has encouraged many food outlets to redistribute surplus food stock to charities. Some of these charities deliver the food directly to food insecure households, while others, such as FareShare, the main partner in our research, act as intermediaries and deliver the food to other charities or food banks. FareShare supports more than 6,700 charities and community groups, and works with over 500 food companies. Demand for certain types of food exceeds the available supply, so Fareshare is keen to refine their decision-making process and allocation model in order to bring in greater fairness and equity.

This research project in partnership with Fareshare aims to developing a model that can maximise the social impact of the redistribution of surplus food and render the process more efficient. To this end, the project team are working for the construction of a social-metrics model which can accurately produce a snapshot for each organisation or group of charities that Fareshare works with.