Donate Food Today
Donating surplus food is simple
Working alongside the food industry throughout the UK, City Harvest ensures no good food is wasted. Our professional team redistributes free food for 1.2 million meals a month to people living in London and who are most in need. City Harvest is simply the nation’s most beautiful solution for food poverty, ESGs + CSR.
City Harvest supports your sustainability & social impact goals
A letter from our Head of Food
Here at City Harvest we tackle two big issues: food waste and food poverty. We are a sustainable solution to surplus for the food and growing industry, diverting quality food from waste and redistributing it to those facing food poverty across London. When 1 in 4 people struggle to access nutritious food and 1 in 3 parents miss meals to feed their families, City Harvest’s solution is manifold.
Who we support.
Our London wide operation delivers free food every week to over 375 community partners: foodbanks, schools, hostels, soup kitchens, refuges, and local community hubs. We’re currently redistributing free food for 1.2 million meals a month, but sadly, we have a growing list of more than 20,000 people who need our help. We also collaborate with and support like-minded food redistribution charities throughout the UK who share the same vision as us, so that together we can all achieve more.
How food companies work with us.
We work with all levels of the food supply chain. We partner with farms and growers, manufacturers, retailers, wholesalers, and distributors all across the UK, who flag when stock is either close to its shelf life, has been forecasted incorrectly, forms part of a development trial, has incorrect packaging, or sadly just doesn’t make the grade or specification due to seasonal challenges. Fully compliant with food safety and distribution law, we require the product is labelled with a title, ingredient declaration and allergen information, and a ‘use by’ / ‘best before’ date, and then we’re able to take it and redistribute it. We have a strict chill chain and ensure our community partners are fully food safety accredited with the correct storage facilities to ensure the chill chain is not broken at any stage. Fresh produce is obviously simpler.
We attract staff from the food, hospitality, and logistics industry, so we more than understand that dealing with surplus stock is a less of a priority than selling stock for profit. Our team integrates into your operation to spot opportunity and organise logistics, making it as slick as possible from day one.
It’s so easy.
- We have a fleet of branded City Harvest vans that can collect stock locally to our depots.
- Alternatively, we can arrange for stock to be delivered to us. We have several great partnerships with third-party hauliers who will collect anywhere in the UK for us.
- We’re happy to accept short shelf-life food.
- We have dedicated team of volunteers who sort through all our donations.
- Our community partners receive the food in just a matter of hours/days.
Your sustainable solution to surplus. Immediate impact reporting.
We love to shine a sustainability spotlight on the social and climate impact that companies make by partnering with us. Our impact reports allow you to show your stakeholders the immediate impact to people and planet with case studies and statistics of who your food is supporting. We report on the number of kgs rescued, meals provided and kgs of GHG prevented.
Get in touch now – we are a lovely lot at City Harvest.
Making a food donation is so simple, it just requires an email or a phone call to the Food Team at email@example.com / 0207 041 8491 with details of the surplus food, and we’ll take it from there. Alternatively, use the button at the top of the page and complete the form and someone from the food team will be in touch.
As the world wakes up to the intrinsic value of food, there is no reason food should be wasted when people experience hunger and malnutrition. Making the right choice has never been easier.
“As a proud B Corp & food business, the work City Harvest does to tackle food waste is something that lies close to our sustainability framework around people, planet & profit. Food donations enable us to give back to those most in need in our local community here in London, and our volunteering partnership allows us to be lucky enough to step inside the amazing operation in Acton & see firsthand how we all can play a part in fighting food inequality.”
Katherine Wynn-Davies, Head of Out of Home Sales
“Knowing that since we started working with City Harvest in 2018, we’ve donated over 600,000 meals to people that need them really, really fills us with joy. Being able to distribute our food quickly, to the people that need it, is extremely valuable for Wholegood. We’re a business that really believes in purpose. So, even at the point where we’ve got produce we can no longer sell, we know it goes to people that need it.”
Carl Saxton-Pizzie, Founder & CGO
“We don’t have the distribution network to divert our unavoidable food waste, so working with charities like City Harvest means that they can go out and reach the people who need it most instead, and we have the full confidence that it’s going to right place.
Equally for our team, it’s really inspiring for them – they don’t want to be binning food in our depots. Seeing charities like City Harvest turn up for collection at the depots every week is really empowering for them too.”
Emily Pinkney, GB Sustainability Manager
“Working with City Harvest is so easy. If I call City Harvest with a surplus offer, they’ll reply within hours. Collection will then be booked for if not that evening, then the next morning.
Another thing that makes it really easy and simple to work with them is that they do not necessarily take one pallet of the same produce. When we sort through our produce in the packhouse, we would build a pallet of just mixed fruit and veg and then let City Harvest know what is in there”
Yanitsa Tochkova, Technical Manager
“Our partnership with City Harvest is one that we hugely value. As an organiser of food & drink trade shows, Montgomery Events is passionate about reducing food waste wherever possible and it’s fantastic to see the impact we’ve been able to make on communities and charities across London over the years.”
Shane Hannam, Managing Director
“Working with City Harvest provides an amazing opportunity for our surplus products of all sizes and formats to be redistributed to charities across London. The team at City Harvest are always full of energy and solutions to help us find a new home for our surplus, collecting straight from our warehouses, multiple times a week, sometimes even repacking or relabelling into more manageable sizes to help minimise waste further down the redistribution chain. They could not make it easier for us to donate!”
Ruby Harlow, Sustainability Coordinator
We are supported by
Retailer & Brand Authorisations
The brands listed below all authorise their own-label products to be sent to City Harvest for onward charity redistribution.
Supported Charities & Partnership News
1 in 10 elderly people face food poverty in the UK. City Harvest delivers free food for 630k meals to charities supporting the elderly.
City Harvest’s local Acton community partner, APPLE, empowers young people through free food and creative skills at its activity centre. City Harvest speaks with project workers about how food helps the community.
The Fruiterers’, part of the Livery Food Initiative supporting food rescue charity, City Harvest, give out apples in support of the London charity on the Lord Mayor’s City Giving Day, October 2023.
A shocking 15 million pumpkins are wasted in the UK each year after Halloween. Here are 5 ways to use your leftover Halloween pumpkins and fight food waste in a creative way.
London Live News: City Harvest and Angelic make summer snacking safe for hungry children with allergies
City Harvest and Angelic make summer snacking safe for hungry children with allergies With up to two children in every UK classroom now suffering from a food allergy and numbers rising, access to safe food options is a...
ITV London reports on the demand for school food banks to feed their communities, especially during the school holidays. City Harvest food charity supports school food banks but has a large waitlist of people needing urgent help amidst the cost of living crisis.
City Harvest free food has been making an impact with LEYF nurseries across London, utilising surplus food to help support children from disadvantaged backgrounds with additional hours at nursery. These children are ineligible for the extra hours simply because their parents are either unemployed or on low incomes. LEYF, alongside City Harvest, is on a mission to provide equal opportunities to all children, giving them the step up they need in life through nutritious food and early years stimulation.
City Harvest surplus food partner, Royal Ascot, supports the food charity with over 5,000 meals worth of catered food surplus from racing events this summer.
City Harvest long-term partner, Wholegood, has supported the food charity with surplus fresh produce since 2018.
Food Donor FAQ's
What types of food can you accept?
We accept all types of food, ambient, chilled, frozen.
We accept surplus food from all parts of the food supply chain that occurs due to things like:
- New product development testing
- Order cancellations
- Packaging errors and damage
- Quality rejects
- Out of date product past its best before date
- Discontinued product lines
- Obsolete seasonal stock
- Machinery failure and start-up calibrations
- Strict sell-by dates
- Consumer demand for cosmetically perfect produce
- Packaging/branding changes
- Sales forecasting errors
What are the guidelines on the food you can take?
We can collect all kinds of products including chilled and frozen, and we’re able to blast-freeze products at our warehouse to extend product life.
- Food must be unopened, in its original packaging. We can take products with damaged packaging as long as the food itself is not exposed.
- Food must have labels with ingredients, allergens and best-before/use-by dates.
- Ideally, food will have 2-3 days before its ‘use by’ date to allow for redistribution through our charity partners, although we can often take food on its ‘use by’ date.
- We can take most food past its best before date and are able to officially extend best-before dates.
- Food must be stored indoors and at the correct temperature until we collect.
Is there anything that you cannot accept?
- We cannot take hot food however we can work with you to help rescue securely packaged catered food that is safely chilled or frozen.
- We cannot take food past its ‘use by’ date (however we can accept food past best before).
- Alcoholic beverages or products containing alcohol.
- Open packages where food can be exposed to cross-contamination.
How do I make a food donation?
- type of food
- best before/use by dates
- storage type (ambient, chilled or frozen)
- amount available (number of pallets, kilograms or units)
- if unsure, you can also send us a photo of the goods
If products need to be collected:
- collection address
- when we can collect (days and times)
- collection contact email address and phone number
- when we can expect delivery
- haulier (if any)
Where can you collect from?
We’ll collect within the M25 using one of our own vehicles or will use third party haulage outside of London.
Can City Harvest accept deliveries?
Yes, our warehouse operating hours are: Monday – Friday, 07.00 – 19.00 & Saturday, 08.00 – 15.00
Are your vans temperature controlled?
All of our vehicles are temperature controlled and able to safely transport chilled and frozen goods.
Can you take products past their best before date?
Yes, before dates are about quality, not safety, so we are able to officially extend best before dates. Extensions depend on the type of product so please get in touch with our team to discuss.
What happens to food once City Harvest receives it?
All of the food that we receive first comes to one our London depots, where it is sorted and checked by our staff and volunteer teams. Each item is then categorised and packed, ready to be loaded onto a van and delivered to one of our 375+ charities.
Can our office organise a food drive for City Harvest?
Yes, please – please get in touch with our team at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 0207 041 8491 and we’ll be happy to help.
Who does the food go to?
City Harvest delivers nutritious surplus to 375+ charities across greater London feeding people facing food insecurity. Recipients span all areas of need, including; homeless shelters, soup kitchens, community centres, food banks, children’s programmes, schools, and more. Free food provision frees up budgets so partners can provide additional, vital services.
Can you return equipment to us?
We can return trays and farm equipment to your site.
Why use City Harvest alongside other food redistributors?
We can often collect stock they can’t. Food that is very short dated or packaged incorrectly will make the products unsuitable for some food redistributors.
We have a team of over 2,000 volunteers who help us to grade, sort and repackage items, saving you labour and time on redistribution.
Collaboration. We’re part of the Xcess Network of national redistribution charities, and we work collaboratively with other food redistributors like FareShare and The Bread and Butter Thing to ensure no food is wasted and that it gets to the right people.
How can City Harvest support you?
- Corporate Volunteer Experience Days at City Harvest
- Supporting your social and environmental impact messaging with our Impact Reports as well as marketing support.
- We offer bespoke solutions for all types of food.
- Conduct ‘Waste walks’ to help you unlock hidden food surplus throughout your supply chain.
What are your delivery/ collection times?
- We can accept delivery of food to our Acton warehouse at short notice Monday through Friday between 7am and 7pm, and Saturday between 8am and 3pm.
- We can collect within the M25, with a minimum 24 hours’ notice Monday through Friday between 7am and 4pm, and Saturday between 7am and 2pm (depending on location). Minimum collection amount is 50kg.
- We can also collect outside the M25 for a minimum amount of 1 pallet (min 250kg).