Zero Waste Scotland launches surplus food redistribution service

Iain Gulland

Zero Waste Scotland has launched an online matchmaking service aimed at rescuing food that would otherwise be wasted during the coronavirus crisis.

The service seeks to connect suppliers with surplus produce to organisations that will benefit from it.

It is intended as a help to manage previously unforeseen gluts, where no other solution is in place.

Organisations that will benefit from the service include community groups, emergency food providers and businesses.

Zero Waste Scotland is working with Food Standards Scotland to provide updated guidance on date labelling for food redistribution. The new UK-wide advice developed by the Waste and Resources Action Programme underlines the fact that food past its Best Before date remains safe, and perfectly good to eat for days, weeks, months or even years after the date – depending on the type of food and if it has been stored correctly.

The guidance aims to increase the amount of food made available by businesses for redistribution by ensuring that all food items, including any approaching or past the Best Before date, are considered for redistribution. For example, tinned food can safely be eaten three months after its best before. Best before is an indication of quality, whilst Use By dates are about food safety and should be adhered to.

Iain Gulland (pictured), Chief Executive for Zero Waste Scotland, said: “Preventing food waste at source should always be first priority. But where food surpluses can’t be avoided, redistribution is the next best option.

“We’d encourage food suppliers with surplus to get involved.”

For further details on the food redistribution matchmaking service or to access support, please visit the Zero Waste Scotland website.