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Every year UK households throw 7 million tonnes of edible food and drink away. That’s £40 a month worth of food and drink thrown away in each home. As a Food retailer, we have our part to play in reducing food waste too.

How we tackle our food waste in Co-op

We’re working hard to help reduce the amount of food wasted in the UK. In Co-op, we do this by:

Through our partnership with Fareshare, we’ve already donated millions of meals to those in need from our depots. Fareshare take our surplus food from depots and cook meals for those in need via their network of community groups and charities.

As of April 2018, we are now matching local causes with Co-op Food stores to redistribute unsold food through our Food Share programme, in the largest move of its kind made by a convenience retailer.

We’re looking for local causes to donate our unsold food to, apply now www.coop.co.uk/foodshare

This means we significantly reduce the amount of food waste and instead help more local causes. When we are unable to share unsold food we turn it into green energy through a process called anaerobic digestion which means none of our food waste goes to landfill.

After a trialing in 50 stores across the UK, we’ve introduced Co-op Food Share programme, where we match Co-op stores with local causes, donating our unsold food.

How we help you tackle your food waste at home

We’re the first UK retailer to partner with the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) and their Love Food Hate Waste initiative to help UK shoppers reduce their household food waste.

Here’s how we help you tackle your food waste:

  • we print storage instructions on loose and packaged fruit and vegetables, table sauces, cooking sauces, bread and cereals
  • print portion size guides on packets of rice and pasta, which you won’t need weighing scales to follow
  • publish tips and ideas for leftovers in Co-op Food Magazine
  • package some loose fruit and vegetables to help them stay fresher for longer

Cathryn Higgs
Head of Food Policy

Read more about reducing impacts at our Co-op;


Join the conversation! 18 Comments

  1. Thank you for reducing food waste. I’m also glad that the Co-op sells MSC certified sustainable seafood, and wonder if the packaging could be made more sustainable – the cod fillets I bought recently were in a black plastic tray which is difficult to recycle due to not being visible to optical filters at Material Recovery Facilities. Please could the packaging be changed to another material, with even a different colour plastic being preferable until non-plastic packaging can be used.

  2. […] Share is only one area of how we’re reducing food waste on Stop Food Waste Day, please visit our blog to learn about what else we’re […]

  3. Hi Bill, By law we aren’t allowed to sell or redistribute any product which has passed its ‘Use-By’ date – it’s classed as a food safety risk – and it’s been our policy for many years to apply the same rules to ‘Best Before’ dates – despite these dates just being an indicator of quality (after the BB date food is perfectly safe to eat – it just may no longer be at its best). ^Abid

  4. Congratulations on the food share scheme. Brilliant!

  5. I would like to no about out of date stuff as I was in one of your co.ops the other day and I see the girl taking strawberries off the sheff as thay we’re out of date the next day so I asked the girl if I can buy them cheap and she said to me not aloud to sell them as out of date thing is why car.nt we buy them for 20p a punnet as there was nothing wrong with them.ps the kids love marking smoothes thay would have done a turn

  6. More fruit and veg sold loose please.

  7. Being a singleton, I still very much welcome any money off scheme, including offers promoting money off if you buy two packs.

  8. Great news! I have worked for the Co-op for 7 years, during which time I have seen an enormous amount of food wasted! So pleased that Food Share has been introduced at last!

  9. So why has your latest store refit reduced the range of non prepackaged foods. Packs are the promoted as money off two!
    Not good news for couples and singletons

  10. Yes indeed! We welcome applicaitons from all corners of the UK 🙂 ^Ian

  11. Great to hear it is well organised for all distribution centres now. Will groups that are in areas a long distance from DCs be able to use this food eg Cornwall and Devon?

  12. Does this just apply to Co-op Group stores? The ‘Find your local store here’ button at the top of the application form directs to other societies’ stores as well, which could be confusing and waste people’s time if these stores are not part of the scheme.

  13. […] Also check out our blog on food waste here. […]

    • Well done Co-op; I like the fact you don’t put the waste into landfill, and try to use it to help good causes.I wish all stores did it!


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Food, Local causes, Uncategorized