Central England Co-operative cuts food waste by 40% thanks to ground-breaking schemes

Central England Co-op has revealed that it has reduced its food waste by 40% during the past three years.

The retailer, which has over 240 food stores across 16 counties, announced that its food waste levels dropped from 2,445 tonnes in 2017 to 1,085 tonnes in 2020.

This reduction has been achieved by improving ordering processes and as a result of its pioneering food redistribution partnership with FareShare Midlands. The scheme allows the retailer to ensure 100% of its best before products are handed out to hundreds of local good causes.

Luke Olly, Energy and Environment Lead, said: “We are proud that our hard work to reduce food waste has had such an impact over the past three years.

“This has been delivered through ongoing improvements in ordering processes and the roll out of our FareShare Midlands redistribution process which redistributes 100% of end-of-shelf life best before products to community partners across our trading estate. We backhaul items to one central location which enables our partner Fareshare Midlands to offer the food for free, with beneficiaries able to pre-order amounts and categories dependant on their needs.

“We continue to refine and improve our current processes as well as looking at rolling out new ones to ensure we carry on with our efforts to continue to reduce our levels of food waste, something that is vitally important as a responsible retailer.”

These figures come after it was revealed that our work with FareShare Midlands to redistribute food has resulted in the creation of over two million meals for those in need during the pandemic.

Hannah Gallimore, Central England Co-op Corporate Responsibility Manager, said: “We are extremely proud of our long-standing relationship with FareShare Midlands and the life-changing impact we have been able to have over the past few years of working together.

“We are proud of the amazing relationship we have had with such a great organisation for several years now and the reach and impact that these donations will have is further proof of the value of continuing to work together to help those in need during the summer months and beyond.”

The ground-breaking food redistribution project sees all best before food items and non-food goods that cannot be sold taken to the Society’s Food Distribution Centre, in Leicester, where it is then delivered to FareShare who send them to support dozens of local charities all year round.

Simone Connolly, FareShare Midlands Director, said: “With 2020 being such a strenuous year for most people and​ organisations, including FareShare Midlands, we are extremely grateful for the continuous support that Central England Co-op give to our operation across the region.

“With their support we have been able to supply a record-breaking amount of quality surplus food to those who have struggled due to the pandemic.

“We’d like to thank Central England Co-op and all of their members for their dedication and generosity.”


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About Central England Co-operative

Central England Co-operative is one of the largest independent retail co-operative societies in the UK with interests in food, funeral, floral and property investment.


Owned by hundreds of thousands of members, its over 7,800 colleagues serve customers across 400 plus trading sites in 16 counties in the East and West Midlands, Yorkshire, Suffolk, Norfolk, Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire.


Its purpose is to inspire communities to create a sustainable Society for all.


It actively campaigns for the Government to increase sentencing for violent attacks on retail workers and works with FareShare Midlands and hundreds of food banks, generating enough food donations to create over 2.1 million meals for people in need.


The Society embraces inclusivity and equality and is a signed-up member to the Business in the Community (BITC) Race at Work Charter, while it is also fully committed to addressing the impact of climate change and is on track to be Carbon Neutral by 2030. 


It invests a percentage of its trading profit into local communities through its Community Dividend Fund scheme which has seen over £175,000 shared out between 116 good causes over the past 12 months.


Press office contacts: Rob Smyth and James Brindle


Phone - 01543 421390


Email - publicrelations@centralengland.coop