Despite a year which has seen the UK in the grip of the cost-of-living crisis, Tesco shoppers have been their most generous ever in support of food banks and local charities, the supermarket has revealed.
Tesco customers donated more than 2.4 million meals during the Tesco Food Collection at the beginning of December. That brings the total amount of food donated by Tesco shoppers to the Trussell Trust and FareShare in 2022 to the equivalent of 12.5 million meals.
The donations to the Trussell Trust help food banks to provide emergency food parcels to people in crisis, while donations to FareShare support thousands of frontline local charities in communities across the country. Tesco has also topped up all customer donations during the collection by 20% in cash, to support the two charities with their operating costs and ensure the food can get to where it is most needed.
Tesco UK and Northern Ireland CEO Jason Tarry attributed the rise in donations – with donations to the Food Collection alone up 53% on last year – to both the incredible generosity of customers, and the supermarket’s work to make it easier for them to donate.
“Our customers have always amazed us with their generosity, this year more than ever,” he said. “We know that household budgets are very stretched, but our customers have been incredible. We had people donating whole trollies of food at our recent Tesco Food Collection, and it is genuinely heart-warming to see so much kindness. The fact that we now have collection points in every store has made it easier than ever for customers to donate, and those donations are really needed.”
In addition to the donations of food, the pre-Christmas Tesco Food Collection saw customers donate more than £382,000 to the charities by rounding up their bills at the till, donate £133,000 through a link from Tesco’s online groceries website and give more than £19,000 of Tesco Clubcard vouchers, which Tesco has matched. A further £20,000 was donated to the charities as a result of Tesco’s Give Back Express pop-up shop in London.
Tesco also donates its unsold food to FareShare and, including those donations, more than 39 million meals have been provided to both of the charities by Tesco and its customers in the past year.
Lindsay Boswell CBE, Chief Executive at FareShare, said: “We want to say an enormous thank you to Tesco, and every single person that volunteered and donated across the year and at the Winter Food Collection- we had more than 2,000 amazing volunteers join us in stores this year.
“Our charities have told us how difficult things have become as a result of the cost-of-living crisis, with many expecting to see a huge increase in need as the weather gets even colder. The support we have seen from people at the collections and throughout 2022, in both time and donations, will help FareShare to continue getting much needed food to the people that need it most this winter.”
Emma Revie, Chief Executive at the Trussell Trust said: “Food banks across the UK are facing their hardest winter yet as they struggle to cope with a tsunami of need caused by the cost-of-living emergency. On a daily basis, food banks in our network are hearing from families up and down the country who are having to make impossible decisions between putting food on the table or turning on the heating – and too many people are being left with no option but to use a food bank because their money simply won’t stretch.
“Thanks to the incredible generosity of Tesco customers, food banks across the Trussell Trust network can continue to provide emergency food and support to people facing hardship.”
With both charities continuing to need support, Tesco shoppers can continue to make donations at permanent collection points at every Tesco store in the UK.