Every year 270,000 tonnes of perfectly edible food goes to waste in the UK – that’s the equivalent weight of over 21 Routemaster buses. But there are still people going hungry. That’s why we teamed up with food charity FareShare last Christmas and with your help raised £83,000 – enough for more than 300,000 meals for frontline charities.

Were you one of the thousands of people who took part in our Snap to Donate campaign over Christmas last year? If so, we’d like to say a big thank you. You helped to make a difference to someone’s life.

What was the campaign?
The idea was simple – for every person who uploaded a photo of their FareShare Coca-Cola bottle to our Snap to Donate webpage, we donated 25p to the cause, enough for FareShare to redistribute one meal to someone in need.

Read more about the Snap to Donate campaign

Lindsay Boswell, FareShare CEO, is thrilled with the result: “We are delighted that our first-ever campaign with Coca-Cola has generated a significant sum of money to help support FareShare’s work redistributing food to feed people in need,” he says.

“Coca-Cola’s support means that we can redistribute an additional 300,000 meals worth of food to the people who need it most throughout the UK. Thank you to everybody that took part in the promotion over the Christmas period – you’ve made a real difference!”

Aedamar Howlett, Marketing Director at Coca-Cola Great Britain, agrees: “We are a long-standing partner of FareShare and we’re very proud to have supported the amazing work they do with our Christmas campaign last year. By putting the FareShare logo on our packs and engaging people in the process of donating, we’ve helped raise awareness of an important cause as well as donating thousands of meals to people in need.”

The FareShare London Regional Centre
The FareShare London Regional Centre. Photographer: James Darling

So what’s the story behind FareShare?
We’ve actually been working with FareShare since 2014 – helping them fight food waste and hunger in the UK. Here’s the story of our partnership…

FareShare takes good food that would otherwise go to waste, and redistribute it to charities who can serve it up to people in need. FareShare’s 20 Regional Centres around the UK receive surplus from retailers, manufacturers and growers. The food is then stored, picked, packed and distributed to local charities.

Surplus Coca-Cola drinks have been distributed to charities all over the UK, from Brighton to Belfast, thanks to FareShare.

“Coca-Cola’s support means that we can redistribute an additional 300,000 meals worth of food to the people who need it most throughout the UK.”
Lindsay Boswell, FareShare CEO

Surplus food in the UK
You might be surprised by how much surplus there is across the UK food and drink industry — 270,000 tonnes every year, according to waste prevention experts WRAP. That’s the weight of 52,000 articulated lorries (not unlike the Coca-Cola Christmas truck). And it’s all good to eat, fresh and in-date.

But surplus is a fact of life for larger producers and retailers.

FareShare volunteers
FareShare volunteers are kept busy at one of its many depots

“It is inevitable that every food business will find themselves with surplus.” – Lindsay Boswell, FareShare CEO

“No matter how efficient, when operating at scale it is inevitable that every food business will find themselves with surplus food that they cannot sell at some point,” says Lindsay. “It happens for a whole host of reasons such as changes to customer orders, incorrect forecasting, short shelf-life of products, unseasonable weather, damaged packaging or mislabelling.”

Teaming up with Coca-Cola GB

Partnerships with brands like Coca-Cola GB help raise the charity’s profile, bolster funds, and of course, supply surplus drinks.

“Coke doesn’t want any of its products to go to waste, we believe no food should go to waste. So – marriage made in heaven,” says Lindsay.

Most of the drinks across our range have passed through FareShare’s distribution centres over the years, including Coca-Cola Classic, Diet Coke, Coca-Cola Zero Sugar and Coca-Cola Life, as well as Fanta, Schweppes Lemonade and Abbey Well spring water.

Whenever we identify surplus stock, we deliver the drinks directly to a selection of FareShare’s 20 Regional Centres across the country, depending on where the products are most needed at the time.

FareShare redistributes our surplus drinks alongside a wide variety of mostly fresh produce, including meat, fish, poultry, fruit and veg, and dairy products. It goes straight to frontline charities and community groups, so they can serve up nutritious, balanced meals alongside life-changing services and support, all to help address the causes of hunger and get people back on their feet.

FareShare promo Diet Coke bottles on shelf

Behind the scenes at FareShare
The FareShare Regional Centre in London is a hive of efficient activity. Volunteers bustle around the stacks and trays of food, too busy to feel the chill of the refrigerator-cold air. Stretched across the walls, a banner celebrates the difference FareShare has made so far to charities around the UK. The mood is optimistic, conversations are cheerful – and the sense of job satisfaction is palpable.

If you’re picturing basic food in tins or cartons, the range and quality of food and drink in the FareShare warehouses might come as a pleasant surprise. There are premium brands, fresh exotic fruit, rich desserts and high-quality produce, from horseradish to salsa dip, mozzarella to mangoes. It’s all destined for the kitchens of local charities and community groups.

“We use any sort of food you find in a supermarket,” says Lindsay Boswell, the CEO leading FareShare’s growing troop of volunteers and staff.

Andy cooking at Emmaus Sheffield
Andy cooking at Emmaus Sheffield. Photographer: Gemma Thorpe

Although FareShare has achieved an impressive amount in its 20-year history, Lindsay’s still determined to do more. “There are thousands of organisations using food to support vulnerable people. Some 8.4 million people in the UK are struggling to afford to eat. That’s equivalent to the population of London.”

“Coke doesn’t want any of its products to go to waste, we believe no food should go to waste. So it’s a marriage made in heaven.” 
Lindsay Boswell, FareShare CEO

Feeding people first
FareShare’s operation means more surplus food and drink goes to people in need around the UK, who can benefit from better nutrition than they might otherwise have managed.

Kathy FareShare recipient enjoying her meal
Kathy, a FareShare recipient, enjoying her meal at the charity Disabled People’s Contact

It also helps other charities offer more to their clients, so that they can use money that would have gone on food to provide more facilities, services and accommodation. Ultimately, even more people benefit.

“We made a delivery to one of the organisations that we work with of finest rib eye steak, which they gave away as part of their Free Meal Fridays,” says Lindsay. “Word got around that there was steak, and 40% more people turned up than usual!

“If even one of those people enters a programme as a result of that contact with the service, we’ve not only changed a life, but there’s a positive ripple effect that spreads across the whole community. That’s the power of food.”

Find out more on the FareShare website