Ranjit Boparan is aiming to boost the waste credentials of his 2 Sisters Food Group thanks to a private investment in lossmaking value meat retail chain Crawshaws.

The £5.1m acquisition of a 30% stake in the AIM-listed discount butcher by the Boparan Private Office, which was also used for the pre-pack of Bernard Matthews last year, also includes a three-year supply chain partnership with 2 Sisters.

The poultry and red meat supply giant will shift surplus products not needed by its supermarket customers through Crawshaws’ network of 49 shops throughout the Midlands and Yorkshire. The move will also help it sell meat that doesn’t hit stringent product size and weight specifications from supermarkets.

Boparan said: “This is a great opportunity that complements our corporate social responsibility policy and our aim to reduce levels of quality food that would otherwise go to waste.”

Efforts by 2 Sisters to strip out further waste from its supply chain follow its sixth spot ranking in The Grocer’s rundown of efforts by the UK’s 10 biggest food manufacturers in October 2016.

Experts described the group’s approach as “very, very commercial” and predicted the economic benefits would push Boparan to look for further initiatives in the near future.

An off-the-record source close to the Crawshaws deal added the investment would also be another feather in the cap for Tesco’s food waste drive. “With 2 Sisters being a big supplier into Tesco, the supermarket can boast it isn’t just focusing on its own business but is improving wast ag e all the way through the chain,” the source said.

“The retailers are often seen as part of the problem rather than the solution in waste when it comes to product specs. This can the answer the wonky vegetable question for the meat category.”

Tesco, an official retail sponsor of The Grocer’s Waste Not Want Not campaign, has committed to cut out surplus waste from its UK stores by the end of 2017 and says it works frequently with its suppliers to reduce surplus higher up the supply chain.

Boparan Private Office paid 15.2p per Crawshaws share and has the option of acquiring a further 20% for an additional £7m in 12 months’ time.

Crawshaws shares had been worth as much as 95p each in 2015 but collapsed to lows of 15p in late 2016 as the major supermarkets waged a price war in the meat aisles, leading to declining sales and a profit warning at the value butchers chain.

Following the initial investment by Boparan, Crawshaws is planning to restart its accelerated new store opening programme, with an initial focus on factory shop locations.

Former Poundland boss Jim McCarthy will also join Crawshaws as chairman, with current chairman Richard Rose, who has been with the group 11 years, to retire after the upcoming AGM on 28 June.

Non-executive director Ken McMeikan will retire from the Board at the AGM to make way for Boparan Private Office CFO Stephen Henderson, who will join as a non-executive director upon completion of the initial investment.