Company Shop has said it expects to sell more than two million units of food and drink in plain packages this year as it looks to dispel the idea consumers will only buy aesthetically pleasing products.
The UK’s largest redistributor of surplus stock said it would have sold 2.1 million units in plain packs by its year end on 30 September.
The news comes a week after University of Edinburgh research claimed four million tonnes of food were wasted in the UK each year due to cosmetic standards, in part down to how customers thought it should look.
Company Shop said its sales were evidence there was a booming market for goods that were “unpretty” and urged suppliers to redouble their efforts to find a market for surplus stock, rather than waste it.
The company, which sells both branded and unbranded products, has a commercial redistribution model to accept surplus products from across the supply chain in chilled, ambient and frozen categories that are yet to be packaged. Some of the stock requires repackaging because of issues such as ingredient labelling errors.
It said much of its products were sold in plain packaging with a simple black and white Company Shop label showing nutritional, ingredient and allergen information, together with the best before and/or use by date, to be fully compliant.
“We are delighted at these sales figures, which show that consumers are more than willing to purchase ‘unpretty’ products that would otherwise have gone to waste,” said Company Shop MD Jane Marren.
It currently operates five member-only superstores across the UK, with a sixth opening near Sunderland next month, and handles more than 50 million items of food and drink every year.”Our members love it because they understand why it’s there, they get a great price and they are helping to prevent good products from going to waste.
“This example shows how we can work with suppliers, manufacturers and brands to ensure that food fit for human consumption reaches people’s plates.
“By redistributing surplus, we provide commercial and social returns for our partners, great products at great prices for our members, and a real environmental solution that helps to tackle the UK’s food waste challenge.”