Up to 100 Lidl stores will join the scheme by the end of June 2017, with more stores joining the programme throughout the year. The retailer hoped to have all stores participating by summer 2018.
The national rollout followed an eight-week pilot programme with stores in and around Yorkshire and Lincolnshire, which supplied community centres, elderly day care centres, housing support projects and children’s centres.
Lidl has used charity-networking site Neighbourly to link its stores with local charities that will be able to collect edible food surplus each day.
Edible food surplus
It has also joined Neighbourly’s #Fundafridge campaign to donate more than 100 fridges and freezers to projects that struggle with storage for the food donations they receive.
Daniela Tulip, Lidl UK head of corporate social responsibility, commented: “This new partnership provides a great opportunity for us to make a real, positive contribution to the communities that we operate in.
“We are able to help improve charities’ ability to safely store food through the donation of fridges and freezers, which will increase their capacity to sustainably manage surplus food and, in turn, provide more meals for those who need them.”
Change the supermarket industry
Neighbourly founder Nick Davies said if Lidl’s scheme was adopted widely, it could change how the supermarket industry tackled the redistribution of surplus food.
Lidl’s surplus food donations are part of the retailer’s Courtauld Commitment pledge – signed last year – to reduce food waste by a fifth and double the amount of food redistributed to 30,000t in the next four years.
Meanwhile, Tesco’s food surplus redistribution initiative has provided 5M meals to more than 3,300 community groups since its launch in January last year.
Food firms’ help in the community
Food and drink firms have made a number of contributions to their local communities in the past month.
Potato supplier Branston has raised more than £16,000 for local charity Lives, which provides trained respondents to health emergencies in Lincolnshire.
Employees at Branston donated to the charity through a number of fundraising activities, including running the Lincoln 10km, a raffle and a 100 mile charity bike ride through the Lincolnshire Wolds in September.
Meanwhile, frozen food retailer Iceland has pledged to donate £10M to support the development of the hub of the UK Dementia Research Institute at University College London.
The donation is to be raised through the sale of 5p single-use carrier bags in Iceland stores across the UK and through the fundraising efforts of Iceland’s people, customers and suppliers.