Supporting communities through FareShare

To help tackle food waste, Gist has partnered with the charity network FareShare over the last year to redistribute food that is too good to waste.


Since January this year, Gist have provided 265 tonnes of food, which equates to over 631,000 meals, to support communities across the UK. To maximise efficiency of surplus redistribution, Gist and FareShare have worked closely together in the last year to link up Gist depots and FareShare regional centres.  


The partnership, supported by Gist’s owner M&S, currently sees surplus M&S Food products from across the Gist network donated to the charity, and Gist has plans to increase donations.


Jennifer Hackett, Gist’s Supplier & Good Faith Receiving Compliance Lead, manages Gist’s relationship with FareShare. “We donate stock from suppliers that is more than the quantities ordered by M&S,” explained Jennifer. “If we receive surplus stock, the supplier can either contact us to retrieve it, otherwise it is donated to FareShare.”


To redistribute even more food and further reduce waste, Gist is working to incorporate stock that M&S has deemed not suitable to be sent to store. For example, it may have the wrong label and therefore cannot be sold in stores but is otherwise perfectly good to consume.


One of the 1,693 organisations supported by FareShare is Glasow-bsaed Vineyard Church, aiding those in Anniesland, a region of north west Glasgow. Peter Fowler, of the Glasgow Vineyard Storehouse, said: “The variety in our FareShare deliveries means we can provide our customers with a healthier, balanced diet, while preventing a lot of decent food from going to waste, so it’s a win on both fronts.” The food bank has opened every Saturday morning since 2011 for people in the community to visit and collect food parcels and essential toiletries.


Diverting surplus food not only supports people and their communities but helps to protect the environment. The 265 tonnes of food Gist donated has saved 530 tonnes of embedded CO2e and 397 million litres of embedded water from going to waste.


In November, M&S announced a new partnership with FareShare and pledged to donate one million freshly prepared and nutritious ‘Eat Well’ meals to families in need in the run up to Christmas. In an industry first, the meals are made directly from M&S’ supplier 2 Sisters Food Group, exclusively for FareShare.


M&S continues to redistribute all surplus food from stores that is too good to waste via long-standing partner, Neighbourly.


FareShare is the UK's biggest charity tackling food waste to support social good. FareShare takes good-to-eat surplus food from across the food industry, sorts it in regional warehouses across the UK, and passes it onto a network of over 8,500 charities and community groups. These include school clubs, community centres and pantries, hostels, refuges, older people's lunch clubs, and hospices.