The move brings the total amount of food the retailer has donated to charity since 2013 to more than 1,300t – the equivalent of more than 3M meals.
Surplus food is redistributed though the Co-op’s nine-depots – including meat, fruit, vegetables, ready meals and chilled items – where it is passed to FareShare, which then allocates it to local charities and community groups.
More than 1,135 charities and community groups have received Co-op food through FareShare this year, according to the retailer.
Cathryn Higgs, head of food policy at the Co-op, said: “Our long-term ambition is that no food fit for consumption should go to waste and that’s why we are working hard to provide an extra 100,000 meals in the run up to Christmas.
“Whilst so many people in the UK still aren’t able to get access to a nutritious cooked-meal we must do whatever is necessary to support the work of FareShare and put an end to unnecessary food waste.”
The Co-op has redistributed 435t of surplus food from January to November this year, which equates to about 1M meals.
Community groups that have received food include children’s breakfast and after school clubs, youth centres, hostels and supported housing, community cafes, older people’s services, food banks, and family and children’s centres.
‘Unprecedented demand for food’
FareShare chief executive Lindsay Boswell added: “FareShare is undergoing a period of rapid growth at present, coupled with unprecedented demand for food from the voluntary sector.
“The food we receive from the Co-op has been critical to our ability to supply thousands more charities on the front line helping those in need.”
In April, the Co-op launched a 60-store trial to redistribute food from its food stores.
Meanwhile, in August, tonnes of food donated by 2 Sisters Food Group to a children’s charity programme – supported by Prince Harry – was welcomed by its organisers.
Food redistributed by the Co-op
- Up to 1,300t of food donates, equivalent to 3.08M meals
- 435t of food donated between January to November this year
- Plans to donate 40t of food in the run-up to Christmas – about 100,000 meals