A new study conducted by Coyne Research on behalf of Aldi has found that Irish shoppers threw away almost €365 worth of food each during the Covid-19 lockdowns.
According to the research, a third of Irish adults (36%) bought more food during the lockdowns, with one in three of these adults stating they wasted or threw out more food during lockdown restrictions compared to pre-pandemic times.
The study revealed that, despite food wastage increasing nationwide, three out of 10 adults reported knowing someone who struggled to buy food, had to make sacrifices to pay for food, or had to avail of a food bank during the lockdowns.
The study findings reflect FoodCloud’s experience, as the organisation witnessed a huge surge in demand for its surplus food redistribution services since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, with demand almost doubling, while some charities had to reduce or limit services.
Between March 2020 and August 2021, charities sought 53% more food donations compared to the previous 18 months, with 4,822 tonnes of food, equating to 11.5 million meals, distributed through retail partners and FoodCloud hubs during this time.
Food for Good
To help combat the heightened pressure on FoodCloud’s services, Aldi announced plans to launch its 2021 Food for Good campaign, whereby shoppers can buy and leave food donations in their local Aldi store, which will be collected and distributed to local charities by FoodCloud.
From Monday, 4 October until Sunday, 10 October, Aldi shoppers can donate an extra non-perishable food item to one of the specially designed ‘Food for Good’ drop-off points that will be appearing across Aldi’s 148 stores nationwide.
Announcing the Food for Good campaign, John Curtin, buying director, Aldi Group, commented, “It is clear from our survey and FoodCloud’s experience that Covid-19 has exacerbated the issues of food waste and food insecurity.
"Aldi was the first retailer to donate non-surplus food to FoodCloud at the height of the pandemic and is committed to playing its role in continuing to support FoodCloud to combat these problems through Food for Good,” he said.
Curtin added, “We are asking Aldi shoppers to help us by making a donation at our stores. The food donated will be distributed to over 233 partner charities across Ireland, making sure it helps those most in need.”
Aoibheann O’Brien, co-founder and partnerships director, FoodCloud, said this study showed that food waste was an issue in homes across the country in 2020 and that wasting good food has a negative impact on both the climate and our pockets.
"We should look to avoid all food wastage where possible when we think that 3 in 10 within our communities are struggling to access food," she said.
"It is great to see campaigns like Food for Good supporting both the message of food waste reduction and highlighting that there are those facing food insecurity, as it is a problem that has been hidden with the pandemic and one that sadly has the potential to increase with the cessation of government employment payments."
The following non-perishable items are requested as donations for the 2021 Food for Good campaign: Cereals, Porridge Oats, Cooking Sauces, Instant Coffee, Teabags, Pasta, Rice, Canned Food, Sweet Treats and Soft Drinks.