How a frozen dinner is helping solve entrenched food insecurity in BS13

‘You are what you eat,’ goes the old adage. But what if you can’t afford it? One of the most significant Bristol One City goals envisions a future where “everyone will have access to healthy, ethically and sustainably produced food.” The batte against food insecurity affects entire communities in our city.

According to the most recent quality of life survey, roughly 4.2% of Bristolians have experienced moderate to severe food insecurity in the last year. Yet this figure jumps to a whopping 12.2% in Hartcliffe and Withywood (that’s one in EIGHT households!).

“Anyone can fall into the food poverty trap. Zero-hour contracts and low wages make it impossible to budget and it doesn’t take long before essentials like food take second place to heating, utility bills and transport costs,” says George Perry, executive director at Heart of BS13. As a neighbourhood anchor, HOBS13 is working hard to eliminate the choice between heat or eat.

The core of their response is an innovative social enterprise called The Real Meal Store. RMS is creating quality, chef-prepared frozen ready meals using local, sustainable (and yummy!) ingredients. Available online and in Better Food, these frozen meals lock in both the nutrients and flavour of locally grown produce, making their offer a delicious, healthy, and convenient food option for busy people.

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But here’s the best part: Pay It Forward. Every meal you buy helps RMS support a household of 4 in BS13 struggling with food insecurity. Last year they delivered 35,000 meals to locals in need.

And BS13 isn’t cutting corners to create this impact. While everyone loves a bacon butty, RMS is aiming considerably higher. Chefs Luke and Kristjan know a thing or two about good food. Both are Bristol-trained and spent time in significant local kitchens like Bordeaux Quay, The River Station and The Souk Kitchen. Both retail and pay it forward meals exhibit a simple and flavourful mix of local, seasonal, high-quality ingredients combined with big bold flavours. Don’t believe me? Check out the menu here.

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As a social enterprise, the impact goal of RMS is to earn money in the open-market cutthroat world of frozen meals and then channel that revenue directly into addressing a local need and building local resilience. And they have a great chance of doing just that. City Funds wants to see this business succeed and thrive, and are partnering with BS13 in various ways, including:

  • A £13,000 investment readiness grant for marketing consultancy, primarily to build a best-in-class customer acquisition platform. This work, funded by Power to Change and delivered by BBRC as part of City Funds, intends to put RMS is the best place possible to secure future investment.
  • A two-year grant of £40,000 for developing a range of projects that will address food hardship in the community in the long term. With initial funding from the BCH Health & Wellbeing Grant Programme, delivered by Quartet Community Foundation on behalf of City Funds, management of these projects will soon be sustainably supported through income from RMS.

So, here’s an easy way to join the fight against food poverty in BS13 and a better Bristol: find your way to RMS’s selection of delicious vegan and vegetarian dishes in Better Food’s freezer section or check them out online. Who knew creating a fair, healthy, and sustainable city could be so delicious?

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Friendly disclaimer: Neither City Funds, BBRC nor Quartet Community Foundation have any financial benefit in increasing sales for RMS. We support it because we love it and want it to succeed! Should RMS seek investment in the future, they are completely free to secure that from City Funds or any other financial service provider.