Generous Tesco customers got into the festive spirit by donating more than 2.8 million meals to people in need during the ninth Neighbourhood Food Collection, which took place between 1 and 3 December. This collection brings the total number of meals collected by Tesco customers to an astounding 41 million since the programme began in 2012. The collection provides essential food for people in need over the festive period and beyond, and will now be redistributed through foodbank charity, The Trussell Trust and food redistribution charity, FareShare.

During the collection, Tesco customers were asked to donate non-perishable food items such as long-life milk, tinned vegetables, tinned meat and Christmas treats. Volunteers from Trussell Trust foodbanks and FareShare joined Tesco colleagues in store over the course of the three days to collect donations from kind-hearted customers.

Tesco will add an extra 20% to all customer donations in the form of financial support to the two charities. This financial top up is used by The Trussell Trust and FareShare to provide additional services such as counselling and housing advice, volunteering and training opportunities as well as helping to cover running costs in order to provide more food to people in crisis.

Matt Davies, UK and ROI CEO at Tesco said:

“Once again we've been overwhelmed by the incredible generosity our customers have shown in their local communities for the Neighbourhood Food Collection. With winter upon us, it's absolutely essential this food now goes to helping those in need.

“The collection could not take place without the support and response from our colleagues and volunteers, and we want to thank everyone involved who helped to make this collection so successful.”

The donations come at a vital time when both The Trussell Trust and FareShare see an increase for their support.

David McAuley, Trussell Trust Chief Executive, said

“The staggering generosity of Tesco customers, store colleagues and volunteers, means foodbanks UK wide will be able to provide vital food and support to people who are struggling during what could be our busiest December yet. Thank you for your support - your generosity will help stop hunger this Christmas.”

Lindsay Boswell, CEO of FareShare, said:

“What we're seeing, right across the country, is an increased demand from the organisations we work with for more food. They have more mouths to feed. There has been a 26% increase in the number of charities signing up to FareShare in the last year, so without the Neighbourhood Food Collection we simply couldn't meet the growing demand. Every single item of food donated will make a difference, so thank you to everyone involved.”

In addition to the Neighbourhood Food Collection, Tesco has over 600 permanent collection points across the UK where customers can donate food each week.

Food collections also took place at Tesco stores in Central Europe with over 1.1 million meals collected across Poland, Slovakia, Hungary and Czech Republic – a 20% increase on last year's collection. Tesco will add an extra 20% to all customer donations in the form of financial support to charity partners in Central Europe too.