Tesco provides 730,000 meals to food banks as demand soars

The supermarket has partnered with the Trussell Trust to support 29 centres in England.

NEWCASTLE-UNDER-LYME, ENGLAND - JANUARY 15: Veteran John Painter (L) the trustee and treasurer of Tri Service and Support, collects food donated by Tesco on January 15, 2021 in Newcastle-under-Lyme, England. Early in 2020 the armed forces charity SSAFA, in collaboration with the Tri Service Support Centre in Newcastle-under-Lyme, created a bespoke food bank for military veterans living in the the town. Every Saturday tinned goods, fruit, vegetables, dried food and snacks donated by local supermarkets via FareShare, a charity determined not to let food go to waste, is bagged up by volunteers and distributed.  This service came into its own at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic when the service was extended to any person or family in need as well as veterans and they have since handed out over 100,000 food parcels.   (Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images)
Tesco has partnered with the Trussell Trust to support 29 centres in England. (Getty)

Tesco has provided more than 730,000 meals to food banks across the country to help meet the soaring demand as the cost of living crisis continues to bite.

The supermarket has partnered with the Trussell Trust to support 29 centres in England, including venues in London, the Midlands and North East.

The food banks will be able to order food directly at no cost and have it fulfilled by Tesco’s distribution network – meaning they receive weekly deliveries of items for food parcels.

The Trussell Trust network announced last month it had distributed almost three million emergency food parcels to people between April 2022 and March 2023.

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Workers and volunteers at Hackney Foodbank bank receive and organize food donations, 15th of December 2021, Hackney, East London, United Kingdom. The Hackney Food Bank is part of a nationwide network of foodbanks, supported by The Trussell Trust, working to combat poverty and hunger across the UK. The food bank gives out three days emergency food supplies to families and individual who go hungry in the borrough. The food is all donated by individuals and the food donated is held in a small ware house where it is  sorted and packed for distribution.  More people than ever in Britain have turned to the food bank for help and in Hackney the need has gone up with 350% over the past two years. (photo by Kristian Buus/In Pictures via Getty Images)
Hackney Foodbank will receive help as part of the scheme. (Getty)

Emma Revie, chief executive of Trussell Trust, said: “Over the last year there has been a 37% increase nationwide in the number of food parcels that our network has distributed and this is putting a significant strain on our network as they are struggling to source enough food to meet this level of need.

“Tesco’s generosity has been a much-needed lifeline for the food banks who benefited from this initiative.”

Trussell Trust added the level of need across the network was “far outstripping the donations that we’ve been receiving”, meaning food banks were forced to purchase more food and source additional warehouse space to store it.

It added that food banks also had to extend their opening hours to accommodate employed people who need emergency support around their working patterns.

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EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND - FEBRUARY 21: Val Reid, a volunteer with Community for Food, is seen unpacking donations from Morrisons supermarket on February 25, 2022 in Edinburgh, Scotland. With the cost of living rocketing in the uk, annual inflation rocketed by 5.4 per cent in December more than the Bank of Englands 2 percent target, food bank charity the Trussell Trust estimate more than 5,100 food parcels are provided to households every day. Three emergency food parcels are handed out to cash-strapped families every minute in the UK as the cost-of-living crisis continues. (Photo by Peter Summers/Getty Images)
Trussell Trust has said the level of need across the network is "far outstripping the donations". (Getty)

Tesco’s emergency support scheme is being led by its distribution centres, which supply stores with products daily.

Andrew Woolfenden, UK distribution and fulfilment director at Tesco, added: “When the Trussell Trust told us it had food banks struggling to meet demand we wanted to find a way we could help them quickly and easily.

“We have a great partnership with the Trussell Trust through our stores and this was a chance for our distribution colleagues to be involved in helping communities.

“They are brilliant at planning the logistics to make these donations easy for food banks so they could receive exactly what they needed most free of charge from Tesco.”

The scheme runs for six months as an emergency provision for the food banks but Tesco’s Community Food Connection will continue to run all year round in stores.

More than 100 million meals have been donated from Tesco stores since the programme launched in 2016.