We all know that we're supposed to be eating at least five portions of fruit and vegetables per day, but for many people that just isn't possible — and it's not because they can't stomach sprouts. Since 2016, the mean price of fruit and vegetables in the UK has risen every year and, according to the most recent Broken Plate audit, healthy foods cost three times as much than less nutritious options for the equivalent number of calories.
Maintaining a balanced diet can be particularly difficult for food bank users. For practical reasons, food parcels tend to include tinned veggies rather than fresh ones, prioritising shelf-life over nutritional value. However, a new pop-up food bank in Hackney seeks to give Londoners the best of both worlds by going frozen — for a few weeks, at least.
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Frozen fruit and veg is both long-lasting and nutritionally dense, but presents significant storage and distribution challenges for food banks. The Frozen Veggie Food Bank was created to support existing endeavours to improve the diets of vulnerable Londoners, "at a time of year when food insecurity is at its highest".
The pop up is a collaboration between online food distribution platform Bankuet and plant-based frozen food company Strong Roots. Its Covid-safe collection service runs 11am-1pm every Friday and Saturday from now until 14 February at Unit 11 Bohemia Place, a short walk from Hackney Central Station. There's no need for a government referral, either — per the press release, it's open to "anyone who is food insecure in the East London area" and will not be means-tested.