Woolies helps Foodbank net record donations

Posted by Nicole Eckersley on 20th July 2010

Foodbank has hit a record high for donations, receiving over 2.3 million kg of food from Woolworths over the past 12 months, thanks to a ‘reverse logistics’ initiative to reroute non-saleable products from the supermarket’s outlets.

The initiative brings non-saleable products from 825 metro and country Woolworths locations, by identifying and collecting them at store level, then delivering them back to distribution centres in trucks that would normally return empty.

Foodbank, Australia’s largest hunger relief organisation, acts as a ‘pantry’ for the welfare sector by collecting food and grocery donations from major food manufacturers and retailers, and distributing them to charities, who then use them to provide meals. Over 2200 charities make their free meals from Foodbank ingredients, and the group boasts 36 national and 450 smaller donor partners.

Foodbank Australia’s Chief Executive, John Webster, was positive about the implementation of the reverse logistics plan.

“This initiative resulted in Woolworths being our single largest donor in the past year with a record contribution, an amazing 2.3 million kilograms. Commitment and innovation at this level by Foodbank’s donors is vital if Foodbank is to address the needs of those Australians who can’t afford to put dinner on the table every night.”

Woolworths’ relationship with Foodbank was established 10 years ago with donations of products from its Distribution Centres. Foodbank partners collect food and grocery items that are ‘fit for use’ but not suitable for sale, such as items nearing sell-by dates. Surplus food often goes to landfill but new initiatives from partners like

“Woolworths recognises that we have a significant role in ensuring that food, which for various reasons we cannot sell, is put to the best possible use by turning it into meals. Our long partnership with Foodbank has been vital in ensuring millions of meals are served to Australians who otherwise might have gone hungry,” said Woolworths Director of Supermarkets, Greg Foran.

“Woolworths’ food rescue program aims in 2010 to divert enough food away from landfill to serve two million meals. So not only is this a direct benefit for those in need but there is also a boost to the environment by reducing unnecessary waste.”