June 23, 2016

Food waste

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.

Join the conversation! 8 Comments

  1. Well done CooP!


  2. Good News indeed and members will be delighted to see these initiatives as they have worked towards ensuring we support communities in different ways.


  3. This is highly commendable. However if the Co-op is serious about reducing “the food wasted at home by customers and members” as this blog claims, then it should start by reviewing the current promotional strategy on fresh/perishable stock lines. As a food retailer we make far too much use of multi-buy deals. This might be good for increasing sales volumes, but must inevitably lead to more food being wasted at home.


  4. How about sorting out the ridiculous IRTC policy that forces stores to throw bags of food away every night just to hit a compliance number!!!


  5. One way to reduce food waste would be to offer smaller quantities and more loose fruit and veg in store. Fresh cream and custard, for instance, are often wasted in my house, because they are not available in small cartons.


  6. A big thanks to the Coops in Mirfield, Gomersal and Dewsbury who donate to The Real Junk Food Project, Dewsbury branch. We’re collecting about 4 tons per month redistributing to local community groups.
    We’ve often wondered how to calculate that into real benefits but by your calculation that’s about 9,200 meals every month. Makes it all worth while. 🙂


  7. Looking forward to seeing the outcome of the trials in the south.


  8. […] well as redistributing food from depots, we’re also trialling a number of different initiatives to redistribute food from our stores, so watch this […]



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Community, Food, Food Policy