Red Cross launch UK food aid

The British Red Cross is starting to collect food for families needing help this winter.

Food waste costs an average family £680 per year

Produce grown in the UK that does not meet retailer standards on size or shape or is blemished is often used for animal feed or simply ploughed back into the ground even though it is edible, with as much as 40 per cent of a crop rejected.

Food edible for humans is often used as animal feed. Credit: Inga Kjer/DPA/Press Association Images

The report, commissioned by the UK's global food security programme, also showed that the average household throws away more than 5kg (11lb) of food per week, and nearly two-thirds of that is avoidable.

The waste costs £480 a year per household on average, and £680 per family. Households throw away a fifth of the food they buy, wasting it for reasons ranging from cooking and preparing too much to not using it before it goes off, the study showed.

Read: Red Cross UK food aid

Almost 500,000 needed help from food banks

Nearly 500,000 people in the UK needed support from food banks last year, according to figures from the Trussel Trust.

Juliet Mountford, head of UK service development, said the Red Cross agreed to assist FareShare on the basis of "strong evidence of an increased need for support on food poverty issues".

For British Red Cross it's a toe in the water. It's the first step in considering whether we ought to be doing more on today's food poverty challenge.

– Juliet Mountford, head of UK service development, Red Cross

As reported in The Independent, last month a report shed light on the chronic throw-away culture affecting the food industry, where up to two-fifths of a crop of fruit or vegetables can be wasted because it is "ugly".

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Red Cross launches emergency food aid plan in UK

Hard-up families could be forced to turn to the British Red Cross for help this winter for the first time in nearly 70 years, as thousands face crippling cuts to their household budgets.

Food prices have soared. Credit: Bennett Dean/Eye Ubiquitous/Press Association Images

The British Red Cross said it is about to launch a campaign in supermarket foyers asking shoppers to donate food which is then distributed to the most needy through the charity FareShare.

The hike in basic food prices and soaring utility bills has put a further squeeze on UK families, with more than five million people living in deep poverty.