As a result of job losses, businesses closing, numerous industries temporarily closing down and schools shutting, the coronavirus pandemic has put an unparalleled strain on Britain’s food banks as families struggle to keep their heads above water. According to The Trussell Trust, a 61% increase in food parcels is forecasted across the UK from October to December this year.
As demand for food accelerates, AEG, the kitchen appliance brand known for its intuitive design and innovative technology, is taking steps to tackle food poverty in partnership with a new food bank support project, Food 4 Heroes, this autumn.
Food 4 Heroes, a community interest company, was set up in March with an ambition to bring healthy and nutritious meals to frontline NHS workers. The unique approach saw Food 4 Heroes work with chefs from pubs, restaurants and other catering facilities to create nutritious meals for those in need. To date, the initiative has delivered 230,000 meals across 43 hospitals throughout England.
Now, in partnership with AEG, the charity is turning its attention to serving the nation’s food banks, which find themselves under increasing pressure as a result of rising food poverty.
The average food parcel contains sufficient nutrition for adults and children, for at least three days of healthy, balanced meals for individuals and families. However, at present, due to a lack of refrigeration and freezers, the majority of food banks in the UK are limited to serving food parcels with non-perishable items such as pasta, rice, and tinned food.
The AEG x Food 4 Heroes partnership will revolutionise the variety of food options on offer at food banks, bringing much needed healthy, fresh food options to those who need them most. Thanks to a suite of cooling appliances supplied by AEG, food banks will be able to store perishable food products for the first time.
Starting with a pilot scheme in Northampton, AEG and Food 4 Heroes will be supporting three local food banks: KCU, Weston Favell and Daventry. Each site will have an integrated, frost-free AEG fridge freezer installed. Featuring AEG’s Twin-Tech technology, the appliances are designed to preserve the taste and texture of food so that it stays fresher for longer.
This pilot scheme is the first step in what AEG and Food 4 Heroes hope will become a national support scheme later this year.
Luke Harding, General Manager at Electrolux UK and Ireland, comments: “In 2019, Electrolux made a global commitment to support 300,000 people through initiatives which would educate and enable healthy eating. In working together with Food 4 Heroes, AEG will provide the vital technologies to support food banks to elevate their offering – storing perishable items and more food than ever before as these vital support systems find themselves under increasing pressure this winter.”
Following the initial pilot, AEG and Food 4 Heroes aim to expand the scheme to a further 50 sites within the next 12 months.
John Brownhill, Founder at Food 4 Heroes, said: “The coronavirus crisis put an unprecedented strain on Britain’s food banks – figures from The Trussell Trust suggest that the UK saw an 89% increase in demand through the pandemic, and that figure is set to increase in the coming months. We are delighted to be working with AEG to support the first three local food banks in Northampton this autumn.”