We've had the 'buy one, get one free' and even the 'buy one, get one free later'. Now Sainsbury's is trialling the 'buy one, give one free'.

The retailer has united with FareShare, the food redistribution charity, to run a pilot scheme in 19 stores this weekend. Under the Meal Appeal scheme, shoppers will be urged to donate an item of shopping to FareShare.

Sainsbury's, which has supported FareShare since 1994, said if the trial was a success it could be rolled out to more stores.

The charity's CEO Lindsay Boswell said FareShare's ultimate ambition was to create an "ethical bogof" letting consumers buy one item and donate another to charity.

"The bogof has had bad press for encouraging food waste and this would be a good way to overcome it," he said. "We would love to work with retailers and suppliers for an ethical bogof: buy one, give one free."

A Sainsbury's spokesman agreed Meal Appeal was in effect "a trial" of the ethical bogof. "We're obviously interested in it and want to see what we can learn. Hopefully, it'll be feasible to run it on a more long-term basis," he added.

As part of Meal Appeal, FareShare volunteers will give out leaflets explaining what FareShare is and which ambient items such as pasta, rice, pulses, tins and oil it needs. FareShare then plans to mix the ambient food with the fresh items it receives daily from companies to distribute a greater variety of goods to charities.

FareShare currently has 16 depots and supports 700 charities by providing food for the meals of around 35,000 people a day.

Read more
Daily Bread: Best food forward (18 April 2011)
Co-op signs depots to FareShare supply (16 April 2011)