Central England Co-op hails 40% cut in food waste

The retail society has improved its ordering process and developed a food redistribution partnership with FareShare

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.

It says this reduction has been achieved by improving ordering processes and as a result of its pioneering food redistribution partnership with FareShare Midlands. The scheme sees 100% of the society’s best before products 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 Central England’s work with FareShare Midlands has created over two million meals for those in need during the pandemic.

Hannah Gallimore, 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 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.”