Fighting food insecurity with a new campaign: Restaurants Feed London

By The Felix Project

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The Felix Project's Restaurants Feed London

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Will Savage, head of corporate partnerships at The Felix Project, on why restaurants should consider getting involved in the food rescue charity's latest campaign.

In London, The Felix Project recently found 1 in 10 working families have less than £3 a day to spend on breakfast, lunch and dinner. Need for additional support is very real, and that’s why it is vital as many restaurants as possible sign up to our Restaurants Feed London campaign. Last year 170,000 working parents had no choice but to turn to a food bank for the first time to make sure that they had enough food to feed their families. In fact, our poll of over 2,000 working parents in London found 1 in 4 regularly struggle.

The city clearly has a hunger crisis, and these figures aren’t just numbers in isolation. These are working people, some of the most vulnerable in society, and children, who are going to school with empty stomachs. A shocking 40% of London’s children have experienced food insecurity in the last month compared to a national figure of 29%. Every child has the right to an education, but to make the most of it they must be healthy and nourished.  

The Felix Project is London’s largest food rescue charity: we rescue high-quality, surplus food that would otherwise go to waste. We then sort and deliver it to over 1,000 community organisations including 170 schools across the capital. 67% of London’s food waste is edible and although most of this is generated in people’s homes, a lot comes from retailers, manufacturers, hospitality and catering.

We work with all areas of the food industry, including restaurants, who have a crucial role to play in the supply chain. Not only can redistributing surplus food have a direct impact on those in society most in need, there are also significant financial and environmental benefits for restaurants - food waste is estimated to cost restaurants around £682million annually.

However, it is an uphill battle where demand for support far outstrips what we can supply. Last year we rescued over 13,000 tonnes of food from 322 different suppliers and were lucky to have thousands of amazing volunteers to help sort and deliver this food, but our operations cost money and we need more support to ensure we can rescue more food and feed more people. 

Too many food banks are at breaking point, and we recently found that 89% of the organisations we support are expecting to see an increase in demand this year. It’s not only our existing relationships too – we have over 630 organisations on our waiting list.

Last year, through May and June, we launched our inaugural restaurant partnership campaign, now known as Restaurants Feed London, to help sustain our work redistributing food waste in London. Through optional add-on donations to customers’ bills in 9 partner restaurants, we raised more than £30,000 to feed Londoners. This equates to an estimated 91,000 meals.

This summer we want Restaurants Feed London to be bigger and better, and provide over 250,000 meals. To do that we need the support of more restaurants willing to add an optional £1 donation to their bill for 9 weeks this summer, from World Hunger Day on 28th May to 31st July. 

With help from partners, including London’s restaurants, we’re able to supply organisations most in need, like Lewisham Donation Hub who are “now able to provide consistent weekly assistance to over 1,000 people”. Or Woodside Primary School, who say our supplies are “a way of engaging with our families…bringing our school community together”. 

To make sure our green vans are out on the roads every day, redistributing these essential resources, we need your help. Every £100 collected means we can deliver 290 meals. To get your restaurant to help feed London please email emma.burns@thefelixproject.org ​to find out more. 

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