Sales at surplus food redistributor Company Shop have more than doubled in five years.
Turnover grew 7% year on year to reach £33.4m in the year ended 30 September 2015 as the Yorkshire company, which redistributes about 30,000 tonnes of surplus food each year, teamed up with an additional 81 manufacturing sites. It now provides heavily discounted food to 15,000 members across the UK.
“All of this means that more good food is now reaching people’s plates, rather than ending up in anaerobic digestion, animal feed or landfill,” said a spokeswoman.
Substantial investment in a new Manchester store and “cutting-edge technology” to help clients identify more surplus food in their supply chains saw pre-tax profits nearly halve, however, down 48% to £1.1m. But as a result “we can handle retailer, own-labelled, packaged products; we can overcome challenges around incorrect packaging and labelling; and we can take products with less than 48 hours’ life remaining”, said the spokeswoman. New labelling machinery helps the company replace incorrect labels missing allergens or ingredients, for example, making the surplus legal to sell on at a discount.
The company is targeting another four Company Shop sites by the end of 2017, adding to its four standalone superstores and the 29 shops attached to manufacturing locations.
The firm also pledged continued support for its social supermarket model Community Shop. It now has two branches, one in Rotherham and one in West Norwood, London. It plans to open a third this year in Grimsby, for which it hopes local authority funds will contribute in order to make the model more sustainable.
It doesn’t expect the UK’s looming exit from the EU to affect its plans. “Whilst there are certainly a lot of unknowns on the horizon due to Brexit, we have yet to see this directly impacting our client relationships,” said a spokeswoman.
“In fact, with The Grocer’s campaign in full swing and with Wrap’s recent quantification study still fresh in everyone’s minds, it certainly feels like the industry is more committed than ever to tackling food waste in a joined-up way.”