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Northumbria graduate modernises food bank supply chain with Bankuet platform

A few years ago, the founder of Bankuet, Robin Ferris, Class of 2003 Marketing Management graduate, had been volunteering at his local food bank when he realised something wasn’t working. Donations arrived via kind supermarket shoppers dropping off a pack of pasta, cans of beans, or biscuits in the dedicated box after checkout, yet what the food bank really needed most that week was nappies, toiletries, and cereal UHT milk.

Robin, who had spent most of his career in the entertainment industry and witnessed its digital transformation, felt there had to be a better, more efficient way to get provisions to food banks. “In a very short time in the music world, consumers went from buying CDs to subscribing to music streaming services, my light bulb moment was -  it must be possible to create a tech solution for food banks to help them operate more efficiently and for donors to give’.Robin Ferris

Robin set about finding ways to provide food banks with the items they needed when they needed them. At the same time, he realised not only that an online platform could attract new donors, used to paying for everything with a couple of clicks, but also that he could use bulk purchasing power to create better efficiency. Bankuet was founded to achieve social impact rather than profit, was born with a single aim of tackling food poverty. The website platform was built to make it easy for donors to support food banks, whilst behind the scenes relationships formed with the food industry to bulk buy and deliver direct to the food banks, who were encouraged to join the network.

Having started small in 2019, when COVID hit less than a year later, the opportunity for growth happened very quickly. Demand for food banks rocketed, but so did social awareness; donations poured in plus volunteers with time on their hands came on board to help to support the rapid demand that Bankuet was experiencing. In 2021 the fast-growing company was awarded with the Economic Innovator of the Year award from The Spectator, alongside its special award for Excellence in ESG (environmental, social and governance issues).

While this may all seem a far cry from his job 15 years ago as part of the team at Island Records, whose artists included Arianna Grande, Amy Winehouse and U2, Robin has proved his skills are transferable and that disruption is where he excels.

Bankuet turned three in 2022 and has now raised over £2m through the Bankuet platform, which has gone to feed hungry people in the UK. Bankuet has also established itself as the number one supplier to food banks in the UK. The current cost of living crisis is forcing growing numbers of Britons to seek help from food banks to feed themselves and their families. Food bank use is currently as high as it was at the height of the pandemic and food banks using the Banket platform believe that this is a growing problem. Everyone is affected by the crisis, it is a critical moment for Bankuet as it progresses in its bid to tackle food poverty.

Bankuet ensures that new, younger donors are being attracted by the ease of use of its platform and offers existing food bank donors an easier way to give. Post-COVID people visit supermarkets less and the pandemic has made mass adoption of tech a necessity. According to YouGov around 38% of people shop online daily and 52% of Bankuet donations are made through mobile phones. What is encouraging is that the average monthly donation to Bankuet is double that given to traditional charities tackling hunger and poverty. Focused on sustainability, Bankuet modernises the food bank supply chain, delivering only what they request at a time they need it, lowering both storage and fuel costs, and reduces food waste.

More recently, Banquet teamed up with the Northumbria Students' Union food bank to ensure students have access to food parcels ensuring that students have access to food parcels as hardship is felt throughout the student population with increasing economic uncertainty. Donate to this food bank using the Banquet system here. To find out more how your local food bank could collaborate with Bankuet get in touch via email at info@bankuet.co.uk.


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