We get a lot of enquiries from people wanting to find out more about FareShare. Here are some of the most commonly asked questions, hopefully they will help you to find the information you’re looking for.

How can I get involved?

There are lots of ways you can support FareShare, visit our Get Involved page to find out more.

How can I donate food?

If you work in the food industry and want to find out about working with FareShare to find a solution for your surplus food please contact a member of our Food Team on 020 7064 8911 or email foodoffers@fareshare.org.uk.

Although 99% of FareShare food comes from the food industry we’re always very grateful for donations of non-perishable, in date food from generous individuals. If you have food that you would like to donate please contact your local Regional Centre to arrange getting it to us. For more info on the types of food we can and cannot accept please look at our Food Offer Guidelines.

If it’s something that we are not able to collect but you want to make sure that the food doesn’t go to waste, try downloading the Olio app, which allows you to offer the food to people in your area.

I need food – can I get a delivery from FareShare?

FareShare is not a traditional food bank – we deliver food to other charities and local community groups for them to use and we’re unable to provide individuals with food parcels. If you’re in need of a food parcel please contact the Trussell Trust – a charity set up to provide food parcels to individuals at times of need. If there is no Trussell Trust food bank operating in your area try Homeless UK– a directory of services for those experiencing hardship. Your local Citizens Advice Bureau may also be able to help you locate a food bank in your area.

How can my charity sign up for deliveries from FareShare?

For a small monthly fee, FareShare can provide your organisation with regular food deliveries. Please look at our list of Regional Centres and see if we operate in your area, then contact your local FareShare for details of how to apply. We also offer FareShare Go, a scheme which enables charities to pick up surplus unsold food from local supermarkets who use the FoodCloud app at no cost. Register your interest in receiving surplus supermarket food through FareShare Go.

What’s the difference between getting FareShare deliveries and picking up unsold surplus food directly from supermarkets through FareShare Go?

FareShare deliveries will include a range of foods (meat, fish, dairy, fruit and vegetables and ambient food like bread, pasta and biscuits), and typically make up the bulk of a charity’s food order for that week.

Food collected from supermarkets through FareShare Go will be the surplus left over at the end of the day. For that reason, this food is designed to complement, not replace, the charity’s food order. Find out more about FareShare Go.

Why does FareShare charge charities a fee?

FareShare is a non-profit charity and receives very little statutory funding or sponsorship, so to remain sustainable, Regional Centres charge charity members a nominal fee to cover operational costs. The fee varies by region and according to the volume of food that is supplied, but it is a very small percentage of the value of the food supplied to each charity. To put it in context, according to recent research by NatCen, our charity members estimate that if they had to replace the food they receive from FareShare, it would cost them an additional £7,900 per year on average. Charities also benefit by being able to access a much wider range of food. As an example, if a charity had to purchase all their food wholesale, their meat budget might only stretch to chicken. With FareShare, it’s likely they’ll receive lots of different kinds of meat, including beef and lamb.

What kind of charities can receive food?

As long as charities are able to store and prepare food safely, we are able to supply them with food. View our criteria for charities to sign up to receive surplus food.

Why won’t you redistribute food that’s passed its sell-by date?

FareShare redistributes food to charities such as homeless shelters, drug misuse recovery centres, older people’s services, and children’s breakfast clubs, where it will be eaten by vulnerable people, many of whom have weakened immune systems. While we may eat food past its best before date in our own homes, that is a personal choice based on our own assessment of the risk. By complying with the same food safety legislation that applies to the food and drink industry, our charity members can be confident that the food they receive from us is safe for even the most vulnerable person to eat, and retailers and manufacturers can be confident that we will deal with their surplus food responsibly, which means we can source greater volumes of food for people in need.

Is there anything you won’t accept?

Yes. We do not redistribute surplus alcohol.

Do you redistribute chocolate, fizzy drinks, crisps, sweets and cakes?

FareShare redistributes a wide range of mostly fresh produce that has been diverted from waste, including meat, fish and poultry (received by 77% of our charity members), fruit (88%), vegetables (86%) and dairy products (85%). The charities we support then turn this food into nutritious, balanced meals.

We also offer food that might be considered a ‘treat’ – as these kind of foods are often welcomed by our member charities. As an example – a homeless hostel might welcome a new guest with a bar of chocolate and a cup of tea, just to get their blood sugar up after a night on the streets. Older people often struggle to consume enough calories to meet their needs – so high-calorie foods like cake come in handy for older peoples’ lunch clubs.

How can I set up a FareShare in my area?

FareShare operates in partnership with registered charities and social enterprises to run depots around the country. These organisations fund, staff and manage the operation from the planning through the delivery of the FareShare service. Setting up a FareShare can cost around £200,000.

If you’re part of an organisation that would like to work with FareShare to develop a franchise in your area please send an email to enquiries@fareshare.org.uk to register your interest.

If you’re part of a church looking to set up a foodbank, the Trussell Trust model might work better for you. Please visit their website to see how you could set up a community food bank in your area.

I’d like to organise a pop up fundraising event for FareShare using surplus food. Can you help me?

The best thing to do is contact your local Regional Centre. Our priority is always for good quality surplus food to go to the frontline charities who need it, which is why it is very often not possible to guarantee that we can supply food for your event. However – you may be able to source surplus food from the food sharing app Olio. The money we receive from our fundraisers is hugely important and enables us to invest in expanding our infrastructure, so we can provide more meals using good quality surplus food.