Co-op stores across Lichfield are now giving thousands of food items to local charities every week
A Central England Co-op Food Store in Lichfield is now part of a project that will see unsold food redirected to help hundreds of local charities.
Following the completion of a successful pilot, the retailer has teamed up with FareShare East Midlands to roll-out a project that will see all of its Food Stores across 16 counties help good causes and reduce waste in food stores.
The project will see best before food items and non-food goods that cannot be sold collected by colleagues from the Society’s Food Distribution Centre, in Leicester, then delivered to FareShare to send out to over 250 local charities across the Midlands.
Boley Park Supermarket is now part of the scheme and all other Central England Co-op Food Stores in the area will become part of the ambitious project in the next 12 months.
Matt Simpson, Manager at Boley Park Food Store, said: “Everyone in our stores across Lichfield is delighted to be part of this great project.
“Food waste is a topic customers and colleagues regularly talk to us about and it is so great that our unsold food will now be benefiting a wide variety of people connected to hundreds of local charities.”
Those involved in the project are predicting that the scheme will help cut food waste by at least 40% and provide over one million meals per year to vulnerable people.
The long-term goal is to see 100 % of best before goods that have not been sold not wasted and instead redistributed and put to use by good causes.
Hannah Gallimore, Central England Co-operative Corporate Responsibility Manager, said: “We have been looking for a solution to this issue for many years and are now proud to be rolling out our plan to tackle food waste in a manner that also has a major impact for our communities and our partners.
“We are pleased to be working with FareShare East Midlands in an effort to drive down food waste and at the same time have a major impact by helping people in need in our communities.”
One of the main reasons we are so proud of this project is the fact that it is unique and innovative.
“The process behind it is all based around ensuring that the food is sorted, collected and sent out to partners as quickly as possible to ensure that it gets to the people who need it when they need it – ranging from community kitchens to breakfast clubs and hostels.”
It also stands out because it is believed to be the first of its kind to use an existing distribution network to collect items and then deliver them to charity.
FareShare East Midlands’ Director Simone Connolly said: “We are all absolutely delighted at the opportunity to work with Central England Co-op in such a meaningful way and are so pleased that the rollout of the scheme is now underway.
“The combined effort between us will ensure that thousands more people across our region will have access to perfectly edible food that would otherwise be wasted.
“While we acknowledge that we’re not able to lift people out of poverty, we can ensure that good food isn’t wasted when there is a real need for it thanks to this ground-breaking partnership with Central England Co-op.”
Notes to editors
Picture caption: Representatives from Central England Co-op and FareShare come together to celebrate the roll-out of the food redistribution project.
About Central England Co-operative
Central England Co-operative is one of the largest independent retail co-operative societies in the UK.
It is a modern, forward-looking organisation employing over 8,000 staff, with the Society’s principal areas of activity being food, funeral services, and property investment.
Central England Co-operative has over 400 trading outlets across 16 counties including; West Midlands, Warwickshire, Worcestershire, Staffordshire, Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Rutland, Nottinghamshire, Northamptonshire, Lincolnshire, West Yorkshire, South Yorkshire, Suffolk, Norfolk, Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire. The Society has an ambitious food store development programme for 2018.
Central England Co-operative is proud of its reputation for ethical business practices and corporate responsibility. It is a member of Business in the Community, the membership organisation that stands for responsible business, and has also won many business awards for excellence. The Society supports a number of charities including Dementia UK and invests a percentage of its trading profit into local communities.
Becoming a member of Central England Co-operative offers a whole host of benefits ranging from collecting points every time you spend in store to earn a share of the profits, access to members activities and community initiatives including the Community Dividend Fund, which hands out grants of up to £5,000 to charities and good causes across the Society’s trading estate.
For more information visit www.centralengland.coop, follow Central England Co-operative on Twitter: @mycoopfood, and on Facebook: facebook.com/centralenglandcooperative
Rob Smyth at Central England Co-operative on 01543 414140
About FareShare East Midlands
In 2017/18 FareShare East Midlands saved over 827 tonnes of good quality surplus food from right across the food supply chain and redistributed it to 242 charities and community groups throughout the region. These charities provide meals as part of their services to people in need – such as children’s breakfast clubs, day clubs for older people, domestic violence refuges, homeless shelters and drug and alcohol rehab units.
In 2017/18 FareShare East Midlands provided enough food for nearly two million meals (worth over £1.4 million to the charity sector in savings), which helped to feed over 18,000 people every week.
Last year FareShare UK provided enough food for over 36 million meals and helped to feed over 770,000 people every week.