The Co-operative Group has been keeping its promise of ensuring all food fit to eat goes to community groups in need by launching a food redistribution project.
The initiative is being trialled in the south east where enough food to make one million meals will be redistributed this year, cutting food waste and feeding those in need.
Seven stores across Chelmsford, Braintree, Watford and Hemel Hempstead will donate food to local causes, including food banks, day centres and youth projects. If successful, the retailer will consider expanding the scheme across its entire estate of 2,800 stores.
Steve Murrells, retail chief executive at the Group, said: “Our pledge to ensure any food fit to eat goes to the neediest is part of our aim to do business a better way to benefit the communities that we serve.
“We have been making great strides in food redistribution, and being able to provide food from our stores to local good causes is another big step forward. As a community retailer, it was important to us to be able to support the groups where our stores are located, and this trial means we can achieve that goal.”
In October last year the organisation rolled out a programme across its nine distribution centres to supply a range of chilled food items and ready meals to the charity FareShare, which passes them on to charities and community groups to transform into nutritious meals for vulnerable people.
The organisation also works with the Real Junk Food Project in Leeds, donating food from its stores to the organic network’s Pay as You Feel cafes, as well as to breakfast clubs at local schools.