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Food giant supremo challenges sector to step up on hunger crisis

Bilston-born food entrepreneur Ranjit Singh Boparan has announced a massive donation equivalent of a million portions for charity Fareshare in May.

Ranjit Singh Boparan

It is part of a huge annual target he has set of five million portions.

The 2 Sisters Food Group, Bernard Matthews, Carluccios, Slim Chicken and Giraffe owner has urged other food manufacturers to join him in helping tackle the food insecurity crisis for UK households.

2 Sisters Food Group employs more than 2,500 people in the West Midlands at offices and factories in West Bromwich, Smethwick, Wolverhampton and Birmingham.

Mr Boparan, who started his career as a butcher boy at Bilston market in the 1980s, announced in November that he would work in partnership with retailers and food charity Fareshare.

Millions of people – including one in five families with children – have gone hungry or skipped meals in recent weeks because they could not regularly afford to buy groceries, according to new food insecurity data.

According to the latest Food Foundation tracker, 15 per cent of UK households – equivalent to approximately eight million adults and three million children – have experienced food insecurity in 2024, as the cost-of-living crisis continues to hit the pockets of low-income families. It is estimated this figure has doubled in the last three years.

Mr Boparan said: “We have a moral responsibility to do the right thing. It cannot be right that in the UK in 2024 people are struggling to feed themselves. No-one should go to sleep on an empty stomach at night, especially not children.

“I have previously committed to supporting the King’s Coronation Food Project and in partnership with M&S, we are working to boost Fareshare’s distribution efforts. However, I do feel it is time for individual companies who make food to step up and help alleviate this problem.

“This also requires a big effort from our supply chain and it’s fantastic to see so much goodwill and support. Without the support of companies like Magnavale who are storing these products for us, this entire distribution effort wouldn’t be possible.”

In November, Mr Boparan met His Majesty the King in support of the Coronation Food Project following his pre-Christmas donation of a million portions, donated in partnership with Marks & Spencer.

The Coronation Food Project encourages supermarkets and manufacturers to join FareShare's innovative Alliance Manufacturing programme to redistribute even more surplus food to charities nationwide.

Now Mr Boparan has set his colleagues, supply chain and customers a challenging and ambitious target to collectively donate five million equivalent portions annually.

These donations will be through a combined effort with retail partner M&S, who will donate over a million portions. The remaining four million will be food donated using surplus products and leveraging critical support from across the supply chain.

During May, colleagues at his breaded chicken facility in East Anglia have stepped up to the challenge and donated one million portions to FareShare. His manufacturing sites in the West Midlands are expected to follow suit over the next 12 months.

The food includes unique co-branded Fareshare and 2 Sisters products such as coated chicken steaks, coated chicken mini fillet tenders, coated boneless chicken pieces and coated bone-in chicken portions.

George Wright, chief executive of FareShare, added: "As FareShare enters its 30th year it is important that we look ahead to the future of tackling food waste. We want to work collaboratively to innovate and find ways to make sure more good-to-eat food gets to people who need it, rather than to waste.

“By securing the support of partners in the supply chain to donate the equivalent of a million portions of chicken, Ranjit Singh Boparan is setting a great example to businesses across the food and manufacturing industries to share resources to help unlock the social and environmental impact of surplus food.

“We are thrilled to see Ranjit leading the way. Working together will help us combat the environmental impact of food waste and help the 8,500 charities we support strengthen communities up and down the country.”

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