UK supermarket the Co-Op has started to donate leftover fresh produce to charity, in efforts to continue reducing food waste from their stores. The food will be sent from nine of their Leeds-based stores to The Real Junk Food Project’s network, where it will be received by schools and ‘Pay as You Feel’ schemes where customers pay what they can or give their time to help distribute food.
The Real Junk Food project started in 2013, and it has prevented more than one million kilograms of food from landfill each year, and has fed over 44,000 people.
Speaking about the new partnership, Co-Op area manager, Joe Scoot, said: “We’re determined to call time on food waste and by launching a scheme that gives charities great quality, fresh and baked produce, we are hoping to get delicious meals to those who need them most.”
The new enterprise is part of the Co-Op’s scheme, Food Share, which redistributes food and has been launched in 2,500 of the company’s shops, following a trial in 50 locations. This was set up on the basis that all food should be used, and staff should be aware and tackle food waste.
The Food Share scheme came about after platforms such as The Real Junk Food project were making supermarkets aware that fresh produce to make healthy meals was something that organisations such as themselves were not receiving.
The Co-Op are known for being dedicated to tackling food waste, with items reduced to as little as 10p when food reaches its ‘best before’ date.