E-bikes power surplus food pilot

Fleets of electric bicycles and vans will deliver surplus food under a new initiative to help feed vulnerable people.

Environmental charity Hubbub this week launched a pilot of Food Connect which will redistribute surplus food from retailers via community fridges to people facing food insecurity.

Community fridges in Milton Keynes will be among the first to benefit from a fleet of e-bikes and electric vans funded by CAF Venturesome, The National Lottery Community Fund and Milton Keynes Council. They will be used to distribute fresh food that would otherwise have gone to waste to vulnerable households across the town.

Recent research from Hubbub found that nearly 1 in 5 people in the UK are concerned about access to free food during lockdown, such as that from food banks and community fridges.

Community fridges in Milton Keynes have been delivering food packs since the beginning of lockdown to those who are struggling to access food due to low incomes or travel restrictions, in partnership with FareShare, local NGOs and councils.

The use of green transport aligns with the public’s desire to see air pollution reduced with 62% of people saying they have noticed cleaner air as a result of lockdown and would like to see this continue long-term.

Following the pilot, Hubbub’s ambition is to roll out Food Connect to other parts of country, connecting community fridges and local retailers.

“We know from our recent State of the Nation’s Plate report that a significant number of people are concerned about accessing free food during lockdown. Yet millions of pounds worth of food is wasted every year in the UK,” said Kanahaya Alam, community fridge network manager at Hubbub.

“Community fridges already play an important part in tackling this, and our ambition is that Food Connect will help retailers distribute surplus food straight to those who need it, whilst supporting the need for cleaner air.”

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