The Co-op has partnered with hunger charity, The Real Junk Food Project, to redistribute surplus food to people in and around Leeds.
The arrangement forms part of the retailer’s new Food Share initiative which aims to take products off sale earlier on the day of expiry, enabling charities to collect a wider range of fresh food and baked goods within their use-by and best-before dates.
The Real Junk Food Project is receiving fresh food from nine Co-op Food stores in Leeds and the neighbouring area and redistributing it via its network of local charity partners, schools and Pay As You Feel Sharehouses, or using it to create nutritious meals to serve in its cafes.
The charity’s Sharehouses allow people to pay as they feel with their money or time to help cover the costs of intercepting and redistributing the excess food, and running the Sharehouse itself.
“Co-op Food Share is a brilliant scheme – normally charities like ours get inundated with bread and bakery items but you can’t make healthy nutritious meals with these items alone,” said Chris Green from the Real Junk Food Project Leeds. “What we need is fresh food like meat, salad and vegetables and this is precisely what we’re getting a lot more of since partnering up with the Co-op.”
Green added that the summer holidays are a particularly important time for the charity as many families struggle to feed their children when they’re not at school.
Co-op Food Share is having a phased roll out during 2018 to support the 1,500 towns, villages and cities in which the retailer has stores. It follows a successful trial at 50 branches with local charities and community groups.