Fareshare Cymru trial production of ‘ready meals’ from surplus food


Fareshare Cymru will begin a six-month production trial of healthy, sustainable ready meals made from surplus food after successfully moving into the next phase of a Sustainable Food Challenge.

The charity, which isthe biggest redistributor of surplus food from the food industry in Wales, can't currently use all the food they have access to. Now, having proven the idea is feasible, during phase one of the Challenge, they are partnering with Cardiff and Vale College (CAVC) to scale up production during a 12 month ‘demonstrator' phase.

Katie Padfield, Head of Development at FareShare Cymru, said: "The Food Challenge is not like anything we've done before. We are very excited to be able to demonstrate what we can achieve".

Production in the ‘Redistribution Wales Kitchen' will start one day per week, in the kitchens and additional facilities at CAVC, with the aim of scaling up to three days a week at a later stage. The meals produced will all contain two of your ‘five a day' fruit and vegetables and be fully vegetarian. 10 food projects will be supplied with food initially, with the aim of increasing this to 30 as production scales up.

Three different forms of sustainable packaging are also being trialled as part of this Challenge phase, with reusable metal, reusable plastics and compostable packaging all being tried out.

Cabinet Member for Public Health & Equality, Cllr Julie Sangani, said: "These healthy, nutritious meals have the potential to reduce food waste and meet a gap in the provision of food to community organisations and charities who are supporting some of the most vulnerable in society. It's a really exciting and innovative project and I'm looking forward to seeing production scale up over the next six months."

Monmouthshire County Council Deputy Leader, Cllr Paul Griffiths, said: "As the increases in the cost-of-living continue to impact families, we need to grasp every opportunity to facilitate a transition to a food system that can provide affordable and healthy food at the same time as reducing negative environmental impacts. Over the next six months, this Challenge phase offers FareShare Cymru the opportunity to demonstrate their ability to play an important role in that transition."

Chair of the Challenge Fund Strategy Board, Cllr Geraint Thomas, said: "As Chair for the CCR Challenge Fund I was greatly impressed by the Fareshare Cymru bid; it has collaboration and innovation at its core, both of which are crucial to impacting on the difficult issue of food poverty that affects so many families across our region."  

The Sustainable Food Challenge is a partnership between Cardiff Council, Monmouthshire County Council, the Cardiff Capital Region Challenge Fund, and Welsh Government, supported by the SBRI (Small Business Research Initiative) Centre of Excellence. It aims to identify and support projects that can harness the potential of land, technology, and people to increase the sustainable production and supply of locally grown food in the Cardiff Capital Region.