The Casual Dining Group (CDG) has partnered with food waste charity FareShare to identify where food is going to waste and how it can instead be redistributed to people in need.

CDG said the biggest opportunity was through its distribution network, whereby a surplus of food occurs, including short-dated food, drink and in some cases over-stocking.

CDG’s food distributor, Brakes, now send weekly deliveries to FareShare to any one of its 23 collection sites across the country, including meat, cheese, fresh pasta, sauces and desserts from all of CDG’s restaurants. A large proportion of the food is frozen and redistributed by FareShare’s regional centres.

This process is cost neutral for CDG, as the money usually spent on disposal is now used on transporting the food to FareShare instead.

CDG chief executive Steve Richards said: “We are delighted to be working so closely with FareShare on this brilliant initiative. It’s an important opportunity to do the right thing and to engage our restaurant teams in a great cause; colleagues at La Tasca have already volunteered at FareShare London for a team-building day to see how their food is used, and more teams are looking to follow suit.

“This initiative is an important part of our desire to build a strong and lasting reputation as a good corporate citizen, and to be known as a business that leads on important issues such as this. As an industry, we need to do more on waste reduction – if we can do it whilst doing good, then all the better.”

In the first four months since the new process was implemented, FareShare has received enough excess food to supply over 17,000 meals for vulnerable people.

Mark Varney, director of Network Development at FareShare, said: “Casual Dining Group sets a great example to their peers in foodservice and hospitality, and have really driven this project to ensure that their surplus food no longer goes to waste.

“The process put in place is cost neutral, meaning it costs their business no more to do the right thing with their surplus food than it previously did to dispose of it. CDG were on the front foot in identifying an opportunity and contacting FareShare, and we would encourage other restaurant and pub groups to follow their lead.”