Co-op has opted not to run a multimillion-pound Christmas advertising campaign this year in favour of highlighting the issues of food waste and redistribution.
Tonight (26 November) the convenience retailer will run a one-off live advert during Coronation Street on ITV which will showcase the work done by The Community Fridge Network.
The ad will feature presenter Dermot O’Leary and TV chef and rapper Big Zuu, who will be based at a Community Fridge within the Afghanistan and Central Asian Association Community Centre in Feltham, West London.
The pair will put the spotlight on that local community and how a fridge is bringing people together to eat, connect, learn new skills and reduce food waste.
The Community Fridge Network was set up by environmental charity Hubbub in 2016. Each Community Fridge redistributes an average of 2.4 tonnes of food per month.
Co-op has now committed to doubling the network of fridges by funding a further 250, which will save a total of 34 million meals from going to waste annually across the network of 500 fridges.
The fridges which will be open over the festive period are a place where communities can gain access to fresh food, cook together and learn new skills.
“Everyone deserves food on their plate all year round not just at Christmas, so I’m pleased to give my support to this initiative,” said O’Leary.
“It’s been a horrendous 18 months for a lot of people. This shows the power of communities and what can be achieved when we all come together.”
Big Zuu added: “Where I grew up, community was a way of life. People came together to support one another and for me, food is a mechanism for that, not just at Christmas but all year round. It brings people together and ultimately when people come together good things can happen. I’m proud to be working with the Co-op to eradicate food waste and inspire local communities to come together and support each other.”
Co-op is also looking to support community groups with funding to set up their own Community Fridge through its online community Co-operate (co-operate.coop.co.uk/food).
There are 100 grants currently available.
“Christmas is a great time to shine a spotlight on the things that matter most to us,” said Co-op customer and community director Ali Jones.
“Given the past 18 months and the challenges which clearly lie ahead, we wanted to highlight the importance of community in a real, genuine and positive way. Our unique live advert will remind people that whilst not everyone can enjoy the same Christmas this year, by co-operating we can create a fairer world in the future.”
In terms of further advertising in the run-up to Christmas, Co-op said it would be running some 10-second food and community-related adverts.