TESCO IS SET to become the first retailer in Ireland to donate all its surplus food to charity via Foodcloud.
From October 2013 to February 2014, 18 Tesco stores donated almost 60,000 meals or 27 tonnes of food to 38 charities, including Don Bosco Teenage Care, Inner City Helping Homeless, Balbriggan Meals on Wheels, and Drogheda Homeless Aid.
The programme is now being rolled out to the company’s 146 stores nationwide.
Foodcloud is an app where businesses can upload details of their excess food. The service then texts a local charity, who in turn picks up the donation and shares it with those in need.
The service was founded by Trinity students Iseult Ward and Aoibheann O’Brien in 2012 and has won a Social Entrepreneurs Ireland Innovation Award.
Since partnering with the app, Drogheda Homeless Aid has reduced its weekly food costs by an average of 30%.
John Walker, Duty Officer at Drogheda Homeless Aid said that Foodcloud has “contributed to a lessening of the pressure that we would normally operate under in relation to our food services”.
“We have been able to reduce our weekly food costs by about 30% which has freed up scarce resources for other requirements,” Walker noted.
Co-founder Ward said that Foodcloud was “a fast and efficient solution to bring businesses and charities within the same communities together to make sure that no good food goes to waste”.
She noted that the scale of the partnership with Tesco is “unprecedented” and called on any interested charities and retailers to register with the app.
“Wasting food is a waste of money, a waste of valuable natural resources and raises moral questions where there are people who have too little food. Globally 30% of food produced is never actually eaten. In Ireland, we generate one million tonnes of food waste every year,” Ward stated.
Christine Heffernan, Corporate Affairs Director at Tesco Ireland, described the service as “powerful and innovative”.
“Even in the most efficient retail operations, there will inevitably be food surplus and we are delighted that through Foodcloud’s innovative app, we will be able to donate all our surplus food on a daily basis to people that need it.”