- Woolworths Group is donating the equivalent of more than 13m meals to Australian charities to support food relief amid growing household financial pressures
- Data reveals 40% of Australians are struggling to make ends meet, with some skipping meals
- This is the launch of Woolworths Group’s new Reducing food waste and hunger initiative
Friday, 18 August 2023: Woolworths Group has announced an immediate financial boost to its hunger relief partners which will deliver the equivalent of more than 13 million additional meals to Australians in need.
The meals are in addition to the equivalent of 28 million meals created in Australia through the Group’s food diversion initiatives over the past year, which see excess edible food from Woolworths Supermarkets and Distribution Centres collected by food relief partners.
The latest injection of funding by Woolworths Group will enable more food to reach vulnerable Australians across the country through its partners Foodbank, OzHarvest and FareShare. Additional funding has also been allocated to the Group’s Food for Good Foundation in New Zealand to support Kiwis experiencing food insecurity.
The donation comes as Woolworths data reveals 40 per cent of Australians are struggling to make ends meet, with 20 per cent saying they are skipping meals as a result.1
Food relief charity Foodbank has tracked the number of Australians searching for food relief following each Cash Rate increase over the last 12 months (using data from the ‘Find Food’ button on its website). Its data shows that many people are finding themselves looking for food relief for the first time, as finances are further stretched by each interest rate rise, leaving less of the household budget for groceries after housing, electricity and other bills.
The additional financial support is 100 per cent funded by Woolworths Group as a corporate donation of $9 million across Australia and New Zealand. It represents a year’s worth of the retailer’s support in a single boost to help charities immediately respond to unprecedented food insecurity, and it represents one of the most significant single donations from Woolworths Group to a social cause.
Woolworths Group CEO Brad Banducci said: “At the heart of our business, we exist to feed Australians and New Zealanders, and we don’t believe that should stop once you leave our stores.
“Our supermarkets donate excess food to local charities each week, however with more people on both sides of the Tasman experiencing food insecurity for the first time, it’s clear that more is needed to provide immediate relief.
“Throughout the year, our customers generously donate to our hunger relief partners, and at a time when it may be harder to find that extra change, we want to do more to help our partners meet the growing demand for their important services.
“For us, this additional donation is an opportunity to ‘feed it forward’ and support the households most in need of a helping hand right now.”
Foodbank Australia CEO, Brianna Casey said: “On any given day, more than half a million households in our very own communities struggle to put a meal on the table.
“Demand for food relief has never been higher, and we’re preparing as best we can for more and more people to need our help - or to need it more often.
“This much-needed injection of funds from Woolworths Group is above and beyond the food, funding and transport support it provides us every day – and it will help us redouble our efforts to get more nutritious, culturally-appropriate food to households right across Australia.”
Funding will also be allocated to FareShare’s Meals for the Mob program to support regional and remote Indigenous communities with almost 200,000 extra meals, as well as the Australian Literacy and Numeracy Foundation’s school breakfast program.
The donation comes as Woolworths Group launches a new initiative - Reducing Food Waste and Hunger which will work from farm to fridge to help more food go to good use, so less ends up in landfill.
Together with its customers, suppliers and hunger relief partners, the supermarket wants to better redistribute excess food in the supply chain to Australians experiencing hunger, while also helping customers better use up what they already have in their fridge - and spend less. The renewed commitment will be outlined in the Group’s latest sustainability report released later this month.
Brad Banducci added: “There is enough food to go around - but unfortunately too much of it is going to waste. We’re set to embark on a renewed mission to redistribute excess food and to help our customers use up what they already have before they need to buy more.
“By getting more serious about food waste, together we can reduce hunger and create a better tomorrow for people and the planet .”
For further information contact Woolworths Group PR & Media on (02) 8885 1033 or email@example.com
1 Woolworths customer survey July 2023 (N=1,000)
Woolworths Group and hunger relief in F23
- In F23, Woolworths Group provided $75 million worth of excess food from its stores and supply chain to hunger relief partners across Australia and New Zealand.
Reducing Food Waste and Hunger initiative
- In F23, 80 per cent of Woolworths Supermarkets’ food waste was diverted from landfill (to food relief partners, farmers and organic recycling).
- All 1,000+ Woolworths supermarkets have a local hunger relief partner organisation, to which they donate any edible excess food which cannot be sold.
- Excess food in Woolworths supermarkets that is not fit for people is provided to farmers or wildlife organisations as animal feed. Where possible, remaining food is sent for composting or to Goterra’s food processing systems where ‘maggot robots’ convert it to manure and protein.
- Woolworths has programs which turn excess food into new products - unsold sourdough becomes frozen garlic bread and old bread is collected by Goodman Fielder to be turned into pet food.
In the supply chain
- Woolworths’ Odd Bunch range provides an avenue for imperfect fruit and veg, to save it from going to waste. The range incentivises shoppers to choose less ‘attractive’ produce by offering a discount of at least 20 per cent. Since 2020, 133 million kilograms of fruit and vegetables have been sold through the Odd Bunch range.
- Woolworths Group has funded the development of a new food rescue marketplace app, to be used outside of its business to connect farmers with excess produce, to buyers who need commercial volumes of fruit and veg in real time. These may be food manufacturers, hospitality businesses or hunger relief charities. More information will be provided at launch.