One in 10 people are suffering from food poverty in Ireland.
In Mandate and Unite’s Hungry for Action report, they revealed the county-by-county breakdown of food poverty, with Donegal the worst, with one in nine unable to afford basic meals.
This comes after France became the first country in the world to ban supermarkets from throwing away or destroying unsold food, forcing them to donate it to charities and food banks.
Under the law, large shops are no longer allowed to bin good quality food approaching its best-before date. Any found not to be adhering to these measures will face fines of up to €75,000 (£54,000).
Councillor Arash Derambarsh, who started the petition which led to the law, is now campaigning to see similar measures implemented globally.
With the Green Party securing two seats in this year’s general election, the party wants to introduce similar legislation to ensure zero food waste.
FoodCloud, a Trinity College start-up, is aiming to tackle the issue, while also combating food waste. The Irish charity uses technology to connect companies with charities and redistribute excess food.
“We have a smartphone app and a website that allows businesses to put up details of what’s left at the end of the day and the time for collection,” says founder Iseult Ward. The app then generates a text message which it sends to local charities.
In response to France’s action, Ward says that “establishing a scalable and sustainable model for redistribution of that surplus food has its challenges …
There’s work to do to ensure the infrastructure is in place to support charities in availing of this food.”
Bia Food Initiative are an organisation that have recently opened Ireland’s first surplus food redistribution hub in Cork, with two more hubs to open in Dublin and Galway this year. They are also partnering with Origin Green, Ireland’s national sustainability programme, the only sustainability programme that operates on a national scale.
By Fionnuala Jones