Uber Eats funding new tech platform to boost UK food banks this winter

Uber Eats and LAB Group will pilot a new tool to help anyone in the UK quickly locate their nearest local food bank, ahead of anticipated high demand this winter. 

The Food Bank Connector, developed by LAB Group and funded by Uber Eats, will allow anyone to find out where their nearest food bank is, what items they need the most, and how they can make a donation. 

The platform is also a one-stop-shop for those working hard to tackle hunger across the country. Brits working in food banks can use the Food Bank Connector to request donations from the public, share items with other food banks, and send alerts when they have surplus stock. 

The platform will be deployed nationally with several London based food banks set to help shape the service going forward. The project has been funded by Uber Eats, building on the support it already offers to food banks in the capital. 

Food banks are expecting high demand this winter. According to the Trussell Trust food bank usage remains above pre-pandemic levels, reporting an 11% increase in the number of food parcels distributed from April to September compared to 2019.

Matthew Price, general manager, Uber Eats UK, said: “Since Uber Eats launched in 2016 we have delivered millions of meals in towns and cities across the country. We also want to play our part in giving back, sharing expertise to help the most vulnerable people access food when they need to. We’re excited to see the Food Bank Connector tested on the ground, and about the continued impact that our City Harvest partnership continues to have in the capital.” 

Matt Webb, group head of digital at LAB Group, said: “The pandemic has pushed many people into financial vulnerability, with millions expected to use a food bank this year. We wanted to help by creating a tool to support the great work food banks do, adapt to the growing demand and help get the public involved. Uber Eats brings a wealth of knowledge in food logistics and we are incredibly excited about the next phase of trialling the Food Bank Connector on the ground.”

Nicky Sanford, manager of Marcham Preschool Charity said: “There has been such a big increase in demand especially since the pandemic. Since then, getting reliable information and deliveries of stock that meet demand can be difficult. A tool that is reliable and predictable would massively help the families we support so the Foodbank Connector project sounds really promising.” 

Dan McAlpine at City Harvest said: “With Uber’s help, City Harvest will rescue many people’s Christmas this year. People need food more than ever before with 1 in 4 Londoners having experienced food poverty. Everyday, each of our vans delivers free nutritious food to over 350 charities including shelters, hostels, food banks and refuges.”

Uber Eats has been helping London food banks throughout the year through its partnership with City Harvest, funding a van to deliver stock to food banks across the capital. So far this year the van has delivered over 366 tonnes of food equating to over 871,279 meals.