The program donates around $3.5 million of surplus food to The Salvation Army and other local foodbanks and food rescue groups each year.
An additional $1.2 million of food that is not suitable for people to eat is donated to farmers as food scraps for their animals.
The Contestable Fund was opened in December 2016 to help support capital expenditure or projects which have a direct impact on growing and building the capacity of Countdown’s Food Rescue partners.
The supermarket chain said that the fund was designed to help its food rescue partners expand on the work they already do within the community, and “recognise the significant contribution they make in supporting Countdown’s goal towards zero food waste and reducing its environmental impact”.
“Our Food Rescue partners provide an integral service to people in our communities who need food,” said James Walker, GM corporate affairs, Countdown.
“However these are all non-profit charity groups and limited access to funding makes it difficult to grow to meet the increasing demand for support.
“Our Countdown stores partner with charity groups all over the country to provide food, but it’s important to us that we are also helping grow the food rescue sector’s capabilities over time by contributing financially where we can help make a difference”.
This year a $25,000 donation was also awarded to Kaibosh Food Rescue to help off-set the significant operations and financial impact of the November earthquakes. Kaibosh rescues food from eight Countdown stores and many other businesses in the Wellington area.
Kaibosh Food Rescue general manager Matt Dagger said the cost of moving premises, relocating equipment, hiring staff to cover its volunteer programme, plus re-establishing its operation in the new location had left a large and unpredicted hole in the organisation’s budget.
“The donation from Countdown will, in the simplest of terms, help us to recover from the significant financial setback that the quake caused us,” he said.
The inaugural recipients of the 2017 below:
Kaibosh Food Rescue in Wellington receives $15,000 towards its All Taste, No Waste annual fundraising event plus a special donation of an additional $25,000 in relation to the significant impact the November earthquakes had on its operations, resulting in moving premises.
KiwiHarvest in Auckland receives $25,000 to purchase a 20 foot freezer container which will enable them to receive donations of frozen product.
Good Neighbour in Tauranga receives $20,000 to go towards kitchen equipment for their new trial teaching and production kitchen.
Love Soup Hibiscus Coast in Whangaparaoa receives $15,000 to purchase their first official vehicle for food rescue collections and deliveries.
Fair Food NZ in Auckland receives $10,000 to start an annual fundraising event.
Kaivolution in Hamilton receives $10,000 to go towards the purchase of new equipment.
The Salvation Army receives $5,500 for a new freezer and two vertical chillers for The People’s Pantry, a new ‘shop style’ foodbank in Waitakere, Auckland.