The Co-op has announced it will provide 100,000 meals to vulnerable people in the run-up to Christmas through its partnership with food redistribution charity FareShare.
It comes after it announced it had already redistributed 435 tonnes of food this year - approximately one million meals.
The additional 40 tonnes, which is equivalent to another 100,000 meals, will take the total to 1.1 million, including meat, fruit, vegetables, ready meals and chilled food.
Since 2013 the retailer said it had supplied almost 1,300 tonnes of food, enough to provide more than three million meals to those in need, by redistributing surplus food through its UK-wide network of nine depots.
More than 1,100 charities and community groups have received Co-op food through FareShare this year, ranging from children’s breakfast and after school clubs, to youth centres, hostels and supported housing for people suffering from homelessness.
In April, the Co-op also launched a 60-store trial to redistribute food from its food stores.
“We’re very proud of our partnership with FareShare, which has enabled us to provide over three million meals to vulnerable people in just four years,” said Co-op head of food policy Cathryn Higgs.
“Our long-term ambition is that no food fit for consumption should go to waste and that’s why we are working hard to provide an extra 100,000 meals in the run-up to Christmas - a time of year that is so strongly associated with the enjoyment of food.
“Whilst so many people in the UK still aren’t able to get access to a nutritious cooked meal, we must do whatever is necessary to support the work of FareShare and put an end to unnecessary food waste.”
FareShare chief executive Lindsay Boswell said: “FareShare is undergoing a period of rapid growth at present, coupled with unprecedented demand for food from the voluntary sector. The food we receive from the Co-op has been critical to our ability to supply thousands more charities on the front line helping those in need. We congratulate the Co-op for providing over three million meals so far and give thanks to all those involved in ensuring this valuable food continues to reach us week in, week out.”
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