Food Rescue Update

3rd October 2023

Food Rescue Update

Food rescue is the redirection of good-to-eat food, which is unable to be sold, and would have become food waste, back to human consumption, rather than landfill, compost, animal feed, or other uses.

There are many food rescue organisations throughout the country, commonly run by community groups. Food rescue organisations are generally charities, funded by local councils, sponsorship, business partnerships and community grants.

As an example, one food rescue organisation, KiwiHarvest, works with businesses such as supermarkets, wholesalers, producers, cafes, restaurants and hotels, to collect food that would otherwise go to waste. They have several locations around the country, including Auckland, Queenstown, Dunedin and Invercargill. Their founding supporter is the Goodman Foundation and they have several partner organisations such as Rabobank and Countdown. KiwiHarvest is also supported by grants from various councils, government departments, businesses and community organisations.

In addition to single organisations working independently, there are also associations of food rescue organisations who work together, or act as a support network for collaboration between organisations.

Aotearoa Food Rescue Alliance (AFRA) is an incorporated society, which supports and advocates for food rescue organisations. They have over 30 members across the country. Their network of members work to collect and redistribute food that would otherwise be wasted to people in need.

The New Zealand Food Network (NZFN) is another network for food rescue that operates three centralised distribution centres, that receive, sort and store donated or rescued food, before it is sent out to food hubs around the country. These hubs can then distribute the food to the wider community.

These organisations are efficient, professional, high-impact components of the food distribution system. Cooperation with organisations to redistribute food, which would otherwise go to waste, is likely to become increasingly important, as sustainable practices become more and more expected from businesses.

If you are interested in getting involved in donating food, most of these organisations have easy to fill out forms on their websites for growers or food businesses that wish to contribute.

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Map tool with nationwide food rescue organisations included as an element:

A selection of some NZ food rescue organisations (non-exhaustive):

Food box services that use rescued produce:

Restaurants that use rescued food:

Organisations promoting education on food waste: