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Frequently asked questions

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Does Plan Zheroes collect or transport food?

No. Plan Zheroes provides a system to help connect donors with distributors, charities and community projects that can benefit from surplus food.

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Is there a charge for Plan Zheroes’ service?


It’s free for businesses to sign up to our food donation platform and donate up to 100kg of food over 12 months. If you’re having more than 100kg collected in over 12 months, we’ll contact you and ask you to support our work by becoming a ‘Food Saver Member’ for just £17 per month, or £200 per year. Members enjoy unlimited amounts of food being redistributed, receive Community Manager support and a ‘Food Saver Member’ promotional pack to advertise your great work to your team and customers.

Charities & community groups:

There is no charge for charities and community groups to use our food donation platform.

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Can food be dropped off at the charity’s location?

This is something that needs to be agreed between business and charity. In many cases there is no transport available, and the help of a volunteer or another business may be needed. Plan Zheroes can help find solutions.

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Can food processors donate?

Food processors are encouraged to donate foods that may not meet their specifications for reasons that do not affect food safety, such as package printing errors, shape or any other reason but are still perfectly safe to eat.

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Is surplus food the same as food waste?

Not at all! Surplus food occurs when too much food is produced and cannot be sold, or when a supplier or manufacturer sends too much to a business that ordered it. However, in many cases it is mixed up with food waste, most likely because there is no system in place to deal with it sustainably.

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Can packaged foods that do not need refrigeration be donated?

Yes! The donation of commercially canned, boxed, and otherwise packaged foods is encouraged.

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What about fresh produce?

All fresh produce is suitable for donation. Good practice and current legislation must be observed to ensure the products supplied remain safe and legal.

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What about perishable foods that are past the “best before” date?

Perishable foods kept past the original manufacturer’s “best before” date can be donated, but not foods which are past their “use by” date. “Best before” dates generally indicate the manufacturer’s suggested period for peak quality, and the food may be perfectly safe for consumption after this date.

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What foods are not suitable for donation?

Certain foods are not suitable for donation because of food safety regulations. These foods include:

  • Home canned, vacuum-packed or pickled foods
  • Perishable foods past a “use by” date, unless frozen but with a date of when it was frozen.
  • Foods in soiled containers, in sharply dented or rusty cans, or in opened or torn containers
  • Foods with an “off” smell, spoiled foods, foods that have been temperature abused
  • Foods prepared, cooked, cooled, or reheated at home

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What are the food donors’ liabilities?

You’ll be asked to sign Plan Zheroes’ Food Donor Agreement when you create your online account. Each food donation you post on our platform is covered by our Food Donation and Collection Agreement with the charity accepting that donation. This agreement covers the safe handling of the food and liability for the food transfers from Donor to Receiver at the point of collection.

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What are my liabilities as a food recipient?

You’ll be asked to sign Plan Zheroes’ Charity Agreement when you create your account. The donations of food you claim online are covered by our Food Donation and Collection agreement with each business you collect food from. This agreement covers the safe handling of the food and liability for the food transfers from Donor to Receiver at the point of collection.

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Is it safe for the charity?

We recommend that charities should only receive food from donors they trust. Donors must take all measures to ensure the food is properly packed and safe to donate. The businesses have also signed an agreement, which establishes the terms of any food donation.

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Can the charity sell the food once it’s received?

No. Donated food cannot be sold. It is for service users. However, it is possible that a charity receive ingredients to be used in cooking meals to be sold, either as part of the charity mission or as a means to cover the cost of cooking. The charges refer to a service provided not to food. Charities are not allowed to sell the food as was received from a donor.

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What happens to the food after it’s been donated to the charity?

Food donated to charities shall only be used on premises managed by the charity or designated soup runs.

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