Waste Britain - An evaluation of the economic & social impact of FareShare’s contribution to fighting hunger and tackling food waste

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Abstract

FareShare is the single largest food redistribution charity in the UK with 53,894 tonnes of food redirected to a network of 9462 charities and communities in 2021/22. The food that is saved translates into 128.3 million meals to over 1 million beneficiaries. Since 2021, the UK economy has been in the midst of a cost-of-living crisis which has acutely brought into context the work of food charities. Consequently, this study attempts to measure the wider impact of FareShare’s contribution by employing a Social Return on Investment (SROI) approach to estimate the social and economic value for the primary stakeholders: the beneficiaries. The study also identifies the cost savings to the State as well as to the beneficiaries.
The analysis starts by building on the extensive data collected from the annual impact survey run by FareShare to eventually monetise the impact of each of the key outcomes for both organisations and end-beneficiaries that are actively supported by FareShare. These outcomes range from food-centric ones such as nutrition, food affordability and food waste reduction to enabling wider wellbeing services such as improved mental and physical health and promoting a sense of belonging within the community.

The findings reveal that FareShare’s work creates an outstanding net economic and social impact of £225,230,009 annually. Out of the total impact value, £107,661,372 (48%) is attributed to savings for beneficiaries and £117,568,637 (52%) is savings directly to the state.
The cost savings attributed to the State are a result of beneficiaries getting access to better nutritional food, and access to wider services such as mental health support, amongst others. The bulk of the savings attributed to beneficiaries are derived from a reduction in their food affordability burden, which may in turn lead to further indirect savings to the state. This finding underlines the current financial pressures faced by people turning to food services. The study also shows that the largest proportion of the social and economic value is delivered through the Community Services Group (38%) followed by Foodbanks (35%) in helping mostly families (74% of total beneficiaries). The average net value generated stands at £209 per beneficiary.

Overall, for every £1 spent on redistributing surplus food, FareShare has enabled £5.72 of socio-economic value. This is split into £2.97 as savings to the State and £2.75 as savings to beneficiaries.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherFareShare
Commissioning bodyFareShare
Number of pages28
Publication statusPublished - 16 May 2023

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