Setting up a Food Service – Considerations
Type of Service
- What type of service is needed?
- How do you know that there is a need and how will you make sure that it is those that need the service that access it?
- Is anyone else doing the same thing or similar locally?
- Would it be better to join forces?
When you have established the need locally you will know what type of food provision service is needed e.g. food bank, meals, cookery classes etc.
Types of Food
The types of food you would like to receive/ redistribute is largely dependent on the storage you have available.
If you would like chilled or frozen food you need to have fridges and freezers to store this food in, even if you think the food will be redistributed as soon as you receive it.
For fresh fruit and veg and dry good such as pasta, rice tins etc. you need to have storage that is above floor level e.g. shelves or racking
You need to think about how you will deliver to your clients.
- Will they need to come to you?
- Do you need use of a van or a bicycle with a trailer?
- How will you deliver hot meals?
- Will you need to keep them warm?
Other things you might need: PPE (Personal Protective Equipment), cooking equipment, receptacles for cooked food/bags or boxes for food parcels, thermometers, stock control, cleaning equipment, and first aid kits.
Training and Legal Requirements
If you would like to receive chilled and frozen food you first need to register with Environmental Health as a Food Business. Registration is free and cannot be refused – this can be done online https://www.gov.uk/food-business-registration
To receive fresh, chilled, frozen or dry food your volunteers/staff will need to complete Food Hygiene Level 2 training. This will go through information on food storage and preparation, controlling temperatures and what constitutes best practice in regard to controlling food safety hazards.
FareShare is a registered food redistribution charity that works with the suppliers of the supermarkets to access some of their surplus food. This is food that has become surplus in the supply chain for various reasons including short dates, overordering, packaging errors etc.
The food FareShare gets is a range of fresh fruit and veg, chilled food including meat, fish and dairy, frozen food and dry food such as pasta, rice, tins etc.
This food is then redistributed to charities, community groups and not-for-profit organisations who are doing something with food to support people in their local community.
FareShare operates on a membership basis and for a monthly fee members receive a weekly food order. To sign up as a member you will be asked to complete an Application Form and a Premises Check. We’ll also need to see evidence of the requirements set out in ‘Training and Legal Requirements’.
To find out about membership contact your local FareShare today:
South Wales – FareShare Cymru 02920 362111 / email@example.com
North Wales – FareShare Merseyside complete the enquiries form on the Getting Food page https://fareshare.org.uk/getting-food/
Coronavirus and Food Safety
Please follow the link for up to date guidance around food safety during the current Covid-19 Pandemic https://www.srs.wales/en/Coronavirus/Coronavirus-Food-Safety.aspx
Eating Well at Home and the Eatwell Guide
Please see information produced by Public Health Wales around how to eat well at home https://phw.nhs.wales/topics/latest-information-on-novel-coronavirus-covid-19/staying-well-at-home/keeping-physically-well/eating-well-at-home/
and the Eatwell Guide which many organisations choose to base their food parcels on https://gov.wales/sites/default/files/publications/2019-02/eatwell-guide.pdf
It’s important to think about long-term sustainability when setting up a new food project, after all we don’t know how long the need for support is going to continue under the current circumstances.
While a food bank may be the best way to meet the needs of your local community at the moment, to be sustainable in the long-term you could consider the Pantry Model. This model is based on recipients paying a weekly membership fee and is like a social supermarket. Members pay X amount per week to receive X number of items of food and choose these items themselves, follow the link to find out more https://www.yourlocalpantry.co.uk/