Stocking Farm opening day (1)

Food redistribution body Company Shop saw demand for food more than double over Christmas as the cost of living crisis hit family budgets.

The social enterprise, which operates 10 social supermarkets across the UK, all in high areas of deprivation, said it served nearly 46,000 baskets of food from its stores from 1 to 13 December.

Community Shop works with the fmcg industry to redistribute surplus stock that might have otherwise gone to waste.

With a recent analysis from the Food Foundation suggesting that the average UK household was only halfway through the cost of living crisis, with incomes set to fall further, Community Shop said it was predicting further significant increases in demand for its services in 2023.

The figures are the latest indication of the extent of food poverty. Earlier this week, The Grocer revealed food redistribution charity FareShare had smashed the record for surplus food received from food and drink companies in December but was still unable to meet demand from volunteers feeding groups on the frontline.

FareShare told The Grocer it had received almost 3,300 tonnes of surplus food during the month from retailers and suppliers, the equivalent of nearly eight million meals, but that the figure still fell well short of what was needed to tackle hunger.

“The redistribution of surplus stock makes a critical difference to families in the UK who rely on it being available to help their stretched budgets go further,” said Company Shop MD Owen McLellan.

“Through the support of our partners, we were able to provide thousands of meals to adults and children, as well as activities and gifts, that helped maintain the magic of Christmas.

“With the right intervention, surplus stock can be fuel for change and in Community Shop we provide a powerful combination of much-needed relief from food poverty, and access to life-changing learning and development programmes.”