With over 240 food stores across 16 counties, Central England Co-op has managed to cut its food waste by 40% over the past three years, from 2,445 tonnes in 2017 to 1,085 tonnes in 2020.

According to the retailer, this reduction has been achieved with improved ordering processes as well as its food redistribution partnership with FareShare Midlands.

“We are proud that our hard work to reduce food waste has had such an impact over the past three years,” says the co-op’s energy and environment lead, Luke Olly. “This has been delivered through ongoing improvements in ordering processes and the rollout of our FareShare Midlands redistribution process which redistributes 100% of end-of-shelf life ‘best before’ products to community partners across our trading estate. We backhaul items to one central location which enables our partner FareShare Midlands to offer the food for free, with beneficiaries able to pre-order amounts and categories dependant on their needs.

“We continue to refine and improve our current processes as well as looking at rolling out new ones to ensure we carry on with our efforts to continue to reduce our levels of food waste, something that is vitally important as a responsible retailer.”

The retailer’s work with FareShare Midlands during the pandemic has resulted in the creation of over two million meals for people in need.

“With 2020 being such a strenuous year for most people and​ organizations, including FareShare Midlands, we are extremely grateful for the continuous support that Central England Co-op give to our operation across the region,” comments FareShare Midlands director, Simone Connolly. “With their support we have been able to supply a record-breaking amount of quality surplus food to those who have struggled due to the pandemic. We’d like to thank Central England Co-op and all of their members for their dedication and generosity.”

Central England Co-op has also announced that it has been named number five for the second year in a row in a list of the top 100 co-operatives in the UK.

Image credit: Alex Cantrill-Jones/ACJ Media