The Group, which comprises commercial redistribution business Company Shop and social enterprise Community Shop, will use the funding to support its new ‘Harnessing Harder to Reach Surplus’ project, which has a target to save an additional 3,000 tonnes of food from going to waste.
The project will be aided by the creation of a specialist team of surplus intervention experts.
It is aimed at rescuing, re-purposing and redistributing the harder to reach surplus from higher up the supply chain. Company Shop described it as “valuable surplus stock” that, until now, has not been redistributed due to the cost and complexity of accessing it.
The specialist team will spend the majority of their time working in manufacturing sites, alongside the internal manufacturing teams, to identify and provide practicable solutions for food-safe product.
Samworth Brothers collaboration
With the help of the new funding, Company Shop planned to work with Samworth Brothers on finding new way to address the surplus created in the process of producing sandwiches.
Together, the companies will investigate ways ingredients left over at the end of a sandwich production run can be packaged up and used for other purposes.
Deborah Carlin, head of responsible business at Samworth Brothers, said the company was “committed to reducing waste and ensuring that as much as possible of the food we produce gets eaten”.
Carlin added: “We welcome the opportunity and resources unlocked by this funding, which will help us work with Company Shop Group to explore further ways to address the more difficult surplus that arises in sustainable, creative and cost-effective ways.”
Profits to be invested
Company Shop said the profits of food sales from the ‘Harnessing Harder to Reach Surplus’ project would be invested into its Community Shop enterprise.
Money from the fund will also go towards the production of a suite of “awareness-raising assets” to influence and educate manufacturers about the possibilities and value of redistributing hard-to-reach surplus.
In addition, there will be a roll-out of toolkits across the supply chain to increase the redistribution of this surplus.
Company Shop said it handled more than 70 million surplus items in 2018 alone.
Overall, food redistribution firms have received a combined £4.2m in Government funds to take more surplus food from manufacturers and retailers and prevent it going to waste.