By Kate Rodger, Food Redistribution Manager
We all hate the feeling of throwing food away, especially when it’s still perfectly edible. We believe that good food shouldn’t go to waste, it should go to those who need it in our local communities. That’s why in May 2018 we launched Food Share, our national redistribution programme to support our Future of Food commitment to halve food waste by 2030.
Food Share allows our food stores to partner with local community groups to redistribute surplus items. This supports our ambition to build a Stronger Co-op by building a stronger community, while also reducing volumes going back through our logistics network as waste, therefore cutting needless carbon emissions.
I’m immensely proud to announce that as we come to the end of our first year of the programme, we now have over 1,100 stores with Food Share partnerships. Not only that, we’ve donated over 1.3 million items to 769 community groups up and down the country in 2019 and over 2.8 million items since launch last year. The groups that have benefitted from donations are school breakfast clubs, youth support groups, community groups, food banks and homeless support groups.
Mark Stringer (pictured above) Store Manager from Wickford High Street Store was the 1,000th store to sign up to the programme and said, “we partnered with Homeless Help for Basildon, an independent organisation run by Skye and Ralph Butcher. It’s really rewarding to see we’re helping the local community by redistributing our food waste to help those who are struggling. The guys are really appreciative of our efforts, which means they can now reallocate some of their food budget to other projects such as a mobile shower unit – something we’re also trying to support with a community donation.”
Food 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 doing.
If you’re reading this thinking a local group could benefit from being a Food Share partner or if you’d like to find out more, please visit the Food Share website.