Central England Co-op has slashed its food waste by 40% in just three years.
The society put the achievement down to better ordering processes, which prevents excess stock, and its “pioneering” partnership with FareShare Midlands.
The latter sees all its best-before food items and non-food goods that can’t be sold taken to the society’s Leicester-based food distribution centre. From there, it is delivered to FareShare Midlands, which redistributes the goods to local charities and causes.
These efforts have seen the society’s food waste levels drop from 2,445 tonnes in 2017 to 1,085 tonnes in 2020.
“We are proud that our hard work to reduce food waste has had such an impact over the past three years,” said Central England Co-op energy and production lead Luke Olly.
“This has been delivered through ongoing improvements in ordering processes and the rollout 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 dependent 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.”
Central England Co-op corporate responsibility manager Hannah Gallimore 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 results come after Central England Co-op revealed its work with FareShare Midlands to redistribute food had resulted in the creation of over two million meals for those in need during the pandemic.
FareShare Midlands director Simone Connolly 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.”