Eating up food waste with our new grant fund

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Eating up food waste with our new grant fund

By Alex Robinson 20th June, 2023

Eat It Up is a new grant fund aimed at finding and supporting creative approaches to reducing food waste. The £200,000 fund, launched by Hubbub in partnership with Starbucks, is offering grants of up to £40,000. We’re looking for projects that have either been tested and need funding to support their expansion or are at an earlier stage with a concept ready to trial.  

We're ready to back projects that do some or all of the following: 

  • address pre-farmgate waste (the food production process, up to the point where the products have been harvested and prepared as produce for sale)    
  • prevent food from being wasted at manufacturing and processing stage 
  • minimise food waste from retailers 
  • find ways to use surplus food in creative ways in communities or at home

Why is this fund needed?

Food waste is a big contributor to climate change; so many resources go into growing, processing, packing, storing and transporting food. According to our friends at WRAP, 6.4 million tonnes of edible food is wasted each year in the UK by retailers, manufacturers, caterers, restaurants and in people’s homes. A staggering 3.6 million tonnes of food is also wasted before it leaves the farm gate. Food wasted in people’s homes alone costs families an eye-watering £730 a year.

A key part of the solution is to build up the ecosystem of innovators tackling the issue. There are many impactful organisations taking on food waste throughout the chain, from scaled-up redistribution models like FareShare and the Felix Project to public-facing apps such as Too Good to Go and Olio, and food companies using up food others can’t, like Rubies in the Rubble and Toast Ale. Despite their sterling work, food waste remains a stubborn problem: by helping early-stage solutions build traction we hope the Eat It Up fund will help to add some more names to this list.

The fund will support UK registered organisations with an early-stage food waste project with potential for impact at scale. To find out about eligibility and how to apply, please check out the website. The deadline for expressions of interest is 21st July.

Tackling food waste, the hubbub way

Tackling food waste has always been one of our top priorities at Hubbub. Successful approaches often help save money and bring people together, on top of the environmental benefits. Since 2014 we’ve developed a range of projects to tackle the issue. While each is different from the other, they all started with innovation and an experimental pilot to test the approach. Here are four we’ve been proud to scale:

  1. A community fridge is a space that brings people together to eat, connect, learn new skills and reduce food waste. We started with just one fridge in Swadlincote, Derbyshire. There are now over 450 across our Community Fridge Network, welcoming 1.2 million visitors and stopping 16.9 million meals’ worth of food going to waste per year.
  2. Food Connect is a food redistribution service that uses zero-emissions vehicles to tackle the ‘final mile’ challenge by delivering good quality surplus food for community groups to share. To date, Food Connect has redistributed the equivalent of over 2.4 million meals with 14 community groups, welcoming over 140,000 visitors and creating 13 green jobs in London and Milton Keynes. Food Connect will be expanded to further locations later this year, also in partnership with Starbucks.
  3. We teamed up with Just Eat to chip away at food waste from takeaways. We initially ran the Food Waste Race trial that helped 91 households reduce takeaway food waste by on average 63%. Learnings from the trial enabled Just Eat to supersize the approach across their customer base. Their global food waste-busting campaign targeted customers across 14 countries, with food saving tips and inspiring pop-ups when ordering via the app. We also provided a sustainability guide to 50,000 of their partner restaurants with top tips on portion sizes to help customers waste less food.  
  4. Eat Your Pumpkin has been taking on the terrifying scourge of Halloween food waste since 2014. Since then, we’ve helped to shift the public’s understanding that carving pumpkins are edible from 42% to 59%. We were proud to win a Purpose Award this month for 2022’s campaign, that reached almost 12 million people.

Hungry for more?

We’re looking forward to supporting other initiatives that share our ambition by providing them with funding to help them scale. To find out more about the Eat It Up fund, please check the FAQs on the site. If you’d like to speak to us about the fund or how we might work together to take on food waste, please get in touch –

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