central co-op food waste

Central England Co-operative will continue giving out food-saving advice on the back of the “major success” of its two-year partnership with an anti-waste campaign.

The 200-strong co-operative said shoppers had responded well to the in-store hints, tips and demonstrations on using surplus food offered as part of Wrap’s Love Food Hate Waste campaign, which ended last month.

The campaign ran across 10 cities and Central England Co-operative took up the challenge in Birmingham by training up staff to offer advice, working in conjunction with Birmingham City Council.

Hannah Gallimore, corporate responsibility manager, said this element of the campaign had proven “very popular” with customers.

Over the two years, the co-op’s involvement with local organisations and communities had made “a major impact” on the attitude and behaviour of people towards food waste, she reported. “The key messages from this campaign have really had an impact on the entire city and we are proud to have played a part in that and that it has been a major success.”

As part of the campaign, the co-op worked with individuals and organisations including culinary arts management students at University College Birmingham, who created recipes using leftovers.

Other activities included a colleague-run community kitchen outside of the Co-operative store in Erdington for 10 days in the run-up to Christmas, a social media campaign on recipes for leftovers that reached nearly a million people, and workshops to Year six school pupils on where food came from and ideas for meals.

Wrap estimates that seven million tonnes of food and drink is wasted by UK households every year, including £260m of meat. The campaign aimed to save the average person up to £200 per year by changing food habits.

Central England Co-op works with FareShare and in 2015 redistributed 13.04 tonnes of food waste, equivalent to 31,047 meals. None of its waste is sent to landfill.