Bridgwater-based Refresco Gerber, the leading European bottler of soft drinks and fruit juices for retailers and branded customers, partnered with FareShare in 2003 to prevent sending their surplus stock to landfill.
The company has achieved an industry leading position on responsible management of surplus and waste by working at the top of the waste hierarchy. Where surplus product can be consumed, it is sent to FareShare, and product that can’t be consumed goes to anaerobic digestion (AD). The company puts the achievement down to a successful partnership with FareShare, as we take 80% of the manufacturer’s consumable surplus product.
The partnership started in 2003. As part of a move to eliminate all finished goods waste going to landfill, Refresco Gerber looked at finding a good home for it its surplus product and partnered with FareShare.
Through the production and customer fulfilment process, surplus and waste product inevitably occur, although at an extremely low percentage of the total volume produced.
For FareShare, surplus food from Gerber (which represented 0.04% of their total volume) still meant over a million servings a year for people in need.
In the early days of the relationship it was often difficult to be able to get the logistics to work without having a single point of contact within the Refresco Gerber team to liaise with FareShare, but as we increased our network and capacity at each of our depots, further opportunities arose for effective provision of surplus stock.
Refresco Gerber has embedded systems and processes in to its ways of working to work with us. The company liaises with us on the volumes available and agree the target destinations across the FareShare network. The logistics are then worked through in terms of the most efficient means of delivering the product into the appropriate FareShare Regional Centre. This is then delivered as part of a multi-drop load being delivered to Refresco Gerber’s retail customers. Any waste that does remain which would be unfit for consumption is passed for local recycling through an anaerobic digestion (AD) facility.
As the relationship has developed, Refresco Gerber have recognised that the value that FareShare offers society goes up as more people are helped and have committed to divert whatever useful surplus they can through this route. Refresco Gerber believes that not only is passing surplus production to FareShare the morally right thing to do as a responsible food manufacturer, but also the environmentally correct option given the environmental cost of landfill.
By donating just 0.04% of their production to FareShare and managing it responsibly, Gerber have managed to provide juice to disadvantaged people 1.2 million times a year.
Refresco Gerber has also hosted events for FareShare, championing our achievements and future aims, as well as sharing its knowledge and skill set – using employee talents to provide life and employability skills to volunteers.
Speaking at the FareShare Surplus Food Summit in London on 17th June 2015, David Saint, UK Business Unit Managing Director, Refresco Gerber, said;
“There is always going to be surplus, and it is trying to identify products that may not be sellable due to legislation but actually is perfectly good to consume.We think that FareShare does a fantastic job and its one of the reasons why we support them so much. We’ve been with FareShare since 2003, we were one of the first organisations to partner up with FareShare. We really felt what FareShare was trying to achieve was a fantastic objective. We would like to see the organization expand and become just as successful in Europe.”