The Co-op is launching a new food redistribution scheme, supporting the 2,500 towns and villages and every postal area across the UK where the business has stores.
The new initiative is expected to redistribute enough food for 20 million meals to over 2,500 different good causes, the largest number of beneficiaries of any scheme operated by a UK convenience retailer.
After an initial trial at 60 stores, the society said a roll-out across all stores will result in it donating up to 8,500 tonnes of food a year.
Jo Whitfield, interim Retail Chief Executive, Co-op, explained how the scheme will work: “Each of our stores will team up with local charities and good causes in their area, ensuring food donated from our stores directly benefits the communities in which we work. The food will be collected on a regular basis, helping those closest to home.
“Not only will this support local groups, but it will also dramatically reduce our food waste, as we work towards our ambition that no food fit for consumption goes to waste.”
The Co-op already works with FareShare to redistribute food from its depots, and in 2016 redistributed enough food to make more than one million meals, in the process helping more than a thousand local groups and charities.