Businesses in Wales are being urged to donate surplus food to charity to help meet growing demand.

FareShare Cymru, a Cardiff-based charity that redistributes surplus food to charities across south Wales, needs an extra 60 tonnes of food per month to meet current demands.

The charity's network, formed of 80 volunteers, operates throughout South Wales, and works in partnership with its sister charity FareShare Merseyside to support charities in North Wales.

They supply surplus food to 239 Community Food Members (CFMs) which include homeless hostels, community centres, refugee centres, and school breakfast clubs.

The food is ultimately repurposed into balanced meals for vulnerable communities.

Since April 2023, FareShare has redistributed 848.2 tonnes of food, equivalent to 1,581,470 meals.

However, a growing need exists and 176 charities remain on a waiting list for food.

The charity is now engaging with food businesses, farmers, producers, manufacturers, and wholesalers who might have surplus food that is still consumable but inappropriate for commercial use.

The Surplus with Purpose Cymru fund, provided by the Welsh Government, is working to make these donations cost-neutral for businesses.

It covers the expense of packaging and labour, as well as any shipping or processing costs.

Sarah Germain, FareShare Cymru's CEO said: "We’re looking for businesses pan-Wales that can make use of the Surplus with Purpose Cymru fund and do good with their surplus food."

She emphasised that they have just begun to tap into an estimated 400,000 tonnes of food wasted yearly in Wales.

"If just 1 per cent was edible, it would be enough to provide 9 million meals," Ms Germain added.

Among the food businesses already using the FareShare Surplus with Purpose Cymru fund is Peter’s Food Services in Caerphilly.

Since April 2023, Peter’s Food Services has donated over 12 tonnes of food, enough to serve 29,000 meals to 160 charities and 18,000 beneficiaries across Wales.

Dafydd Davies, environmental and training manager at Peter’s Food Services, shared his support for the cause.

He explained how FareShare Cymru helped them address surplus food waste, stating the surplus food would serve disadvantaged communities.

He said: "We pride ourselves in producing quality baked goods and it would be a shame to see our lovely food thrown away when it can be repurposed."

FareShare Cymru regularly collaborates with its CFMs across Wales.

One partner is Cwmbran's Tasty not Wasty, operating from the Llanyrafon Methodist Church.

It prepares meals using surplus FareShare Cymru produce.

Founder Sabrina Cresswell expressed gratitude for the fresh and frozen food supplies, stating those resources enabled them to provide nutritious food to the most in need.

FareShare Cymru encourages businesses to contact their general office at 029 2036 2111 or to determine their eligibility and potential of donating surplus food.