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Source: Company Shop Group

Surplus food retailer Company Shop Group redistributed the equivalent of over 108 million meals in 2023, the largest amount in its 50-year history, according to its latest annual impact report.

The group redistributed 45,500 tonnes of surplus food, 10% more than the year before. In doing so it avoided over 122,000 tonnes of CO2e that would have resulted from the food going to waste, equivalent to taking 71,000 cars off the road, according to its report.

Company Shop is the UK’s leading redistributor of surplus food and household products, with 14 stores across England and Scotland offering those working in the fmcg supply chain and key workers access to surplus from leading retailers and manufacturers.

The group, which is part of waste management giant Biffa, also includes Community Shop, a social enterprise with 12 member-only stores serving people on means-tested benefits in some of the UK’s most deprived communities.

The group paid retailers and manufacturers £47m for surplus redistributed through its stores in 2023, according to its report, 20% more than the year before. It took its financial return to the industry over the last five years for food that would otherwise have gone to waste to £158m.

The group has also reported a “mindset shift amongst businesses with many retailers and manufacturers looking to support more sustainable, long-term solutions for food security through Community Shop”. It resulted in stock donations to Community Shop increasing by 70%, enabling it to create over 10 million meals for families receiving welfare support.

The group said it planned to expand the Community Shop store network in the year ahead, having opened two new sites in the past 12 months.

“Our latest redistribution figures once again demonstrate the power of working in close collaboration with the industry, and supporting businesses to fundamentally change the way we view surplus,” said Company Shop Group MD Owen McLellan.

“In doing so, more businesses than ever before have unlocked the financial, social and environmental value from their surplus, enabling us to collectively deliver meaningful support to some of the most deserving communities, whilst protecting our planet.”

McLellan added: “We remain more committed than ever before to unlocking the substantial volume of surplus which still remains untouched, and is needlessly going to waste, each year.

“To do that, businesses must think critically about their surplus and waste management processes, particularly with reporting requirements on the horizon.”