Optimised Energy’s Roy Bidder helps tackle food poverty in Bristol

Food poverty shouldn’t be a problem in the UK. But it is. So Optimised Energy’s Roy Bidder has been getting on his bike to make a difference.

Once each month, Optimised Energy’s Head of Operations, Roy Bidder, volunteers for FoodCycle, managing a team of cycle volunteers to help collect surplus food from supermarkets and greengrocers around Bristol for community meal projects.

What is Food Poverty?

According to Sustain, the alliance for better food and farming, “Food poverty is the inability to obtain healthy affordable food.” Yet the impact of food poverty stretches far beyond basic hunger. According to Sustain, food poverty means, “worse diet, worse access, worse health, higher percentage of income on food and less choice from a restricted range of foods. Above all food poverty is about less or almost no consumption of fruit and vegetables.”

Food Poverty in Bristol

The number of low income families in Bristol is higher than the national average. Whilst it is difficult to gauge the precise ratio of food poverty to low incomes, previous studies elsewhere have estimated that 20% of the population earning the UK national minimum wage or less are “food insecure”, with 6% “food insecure with hunger”. According to The Matthew Street Project, more than 69,000 people are income deprived in Bristol. Potentially, that’s a lot of people eating poorly, and far too many people not eating enough.

Optimised Energy Gets On Its Bike

Since 2009, FoodCycle has been making a difference, and Roy is playing his part in ensuring not only that more people in Bristol eat well, but that less food is wasted. The results benefit people and the environment. Since launch in 2009, FoodCycle has prevented 425,000kg of food from going to landfill and served 1,011,655 meals.

“When I first heard about the level of food poverty in Bristol I was genuinely shocked,” Roy explains. “Then, when you realise the scale of the problem and the efforts so many people are making to help, you can’t help but feel compelled to help too.”

Helping to end hunger in Bristol is just one of Optimised Energy’s commitments in our Sustainability Report, produced as part of our commitment to supporting the Sustainable Development Goals. You can read the full report here.



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