Following today’s extension of Alert Level 4 restrictions, many food, hospitality and event businesses are facing further disruptions to their operations – potentially leaving them with significant food surplus now set to go to waste.
At the same time, demand for food support has surged across the country with food charities and community groups working overtime to meet this heightened need.
The New Zealand Food Network (NZFN) is calling for affected food producers, wholesalers and other businesses to donate any food surplus, so it can be redistributed to food hubs (food rescue organisations, iwi and charities) and communities in need across the country.
NZFN CEO, Gavin Findlay says with unprecedented levels of demand during lockdown, food rescue organisations and community groups can struggle to keep up with requests for food.
“Many food businesses throughout New Zealand may have been holding onto food in the hope that lockdown restrictions would be dropped, so the extension of Alert Level 4 means there will be significant volumes of waste as a result of the continued closure of food businesses and cancellation of events.
“Lockdown puts significant pressure on food businesses and producers who have to close their doors, deal with the impact of cancelled orders and resulting losses in revenue.
“We know how incredibly difficult it is for these businesses that face these disruptions but we ask that this excess food does not get wasted or thrown into landfill.
“With businesses closed, many New Zealanders face reduced working hours and in some cases redundancies. This puts enormous financial pressure on families to continue meeting bill payments and putting food on the table. Even prior to this most recent lockdown, New Zealand’s food insecurity levels were already heightened, so food hubs are struggling to keep up with the new surge in demand for food. They need all the support they can get.
“Food producers have an opportunity to make a positive impact by donating any surplus food to struggling communities or individuals. If you do have surplus food, please consider channelling it through the NZFN, free of charge, to help other Kiwis in need,” concludes Findlay.
Established in 2020 in response to COVID-19, the NZFN acts as New Zealand’s food rescue facilitator and a single point of contact for bulk surplus or donated food, providing a comprehensive and streamlined solution to connect supply and demand. It eliminates the issue faced by many community organisations of a lack of on-site storage infrastructure, which can often see them having to turn away large food donations.
Anyone wishing to donate to the NZFN should email [email protected] or call 0800 FOODNZ (0800 366 369).