Food waste is a big issue for us, because it’s a big issue for you. At the Co-op we’re always working to reduce not only our own food waste, but the food wasted at home by customers and members. It’s at home that the overwhelming majority of all food is wasted in Britain.
Things we’re doing to tackle our own food waste include our partnership with FareShare, which redistributes surplus edible food from our depots and supply chain to those in need. Already this year (2016) we’ve seen 130 tonnes redistributed, which is around 300,000 meals.
Although we’ve seen some great results with this activity, we know you’re still concerned about food waste produced by your local Co-op store. So, we’ve listened to your feedback and have been working on how we can use the local community to combat store waste more effectively.
Real Junk Food Project in Yorkshire
Firstly, we piloted a solution in Leeds, by working with a national charity the Real Junk Food Project, to redistribute food from 8 Co-op Food stores to their Pay As You Feel cafes in the local community.
Local community group trial in the South East
We have also started a trial with 11 community groups in the South East which sees a number of our stores donate food to local causes, food banks, day centres and youth projects.
We have been making great strides in food redistribution, and being able to provide food from our stores to local good causes is another big step forward. As a community retailer it was important to us to be able to support the groups where our stores are located, and this trail means we can achieve that goal. Steve Murrells, Retail Chief Executive, Co-op
This has shown that a process for what we call back of store redistribution can work, but for it to be successful we need to closely embed a good working relationship with the charities involved.
Since these local pilots started, we’ve redistributed over 30,000 products.
We’re moving closer to our pledge of ensuring all food fit to eat goes to needy causes and are working on ways which trials such as these can be rolled our across all our stores.
Find out more about how we combat food waste, and how you can too, here.
Also, it’s Food Safety Week 4-10 July, and we’ll be supporting by offering tips throughout the week on how to plan, store and cook food safely at home without waste. Find out more, visit www.food.gov.uk.