Stores to sell products with use-by dates
Due to the success of a trial in East Sussex, convenience store shoppers and local good causes across Sussex and the south will benefit from discounted food and surplus product.
As part of a new programme to keep as many products as possible in the human food chain, Southern Co-op is currently rolling out the new food pathway across all of its stores – starting with products with use-by dates, before targeting food past its best before date.
The first stage, which has been trialled in six stores in East Sussex since April, is Too Good To Go Magic Bags.
Too Good To Go Co-op initiative
Too Good To Go is the world’s largest surplus food app that lets users rescue surprise ‘Magic Bags’ of delicious, unsold food from shops and restaurants so it doesn’t go to waste. Via the free-to-download app, customers can buy surplus food and drink products from local Southern Co-op sites which are near to their expiry date.
More than 5,800 Magic Bags have been rescued during the trial at 25 retail stores in Kent, London, Surrey and East Sussex. Half of the trial started on 31 January and was then rolled out further on 19 April.
As part of the Too Good To Go trial, Magic Bags of food are available to rescue for just a third of the cost at £3.29 – with an original value of £10 or more.
The second stage will see the rollout of other initiatives designed to save food that has gone past its best before date – either by reducing it to 20p or donating it to local good causes.
Southern Co-op on the benefits of the initiative
Gemma Lacey, Southern Co-op’s Director for Sustainability and Communications, said: “All of these programmes involve a different method of improving food sustainability. By combining them together and making sure they are right for each store, we hope we can prevent food from going off to be recycled and get more into the hands of customers and good causes.
“It will benefit our customers as snapping up a Magic Bag could help those who are finding budgets tight as well as dozens of charities who can make use of goods past their best before date – which is a date that relates to quality, not the safety of the product.”
All store waste is currently diverted from landfill and any unsold food sent off for anaerobic digestion, with food broken down to produce biogas and bio-fertiliser.
Simon Eastwood, Southern Co-op’s Chief Operating Officer for Retail, said: “The initiatives relating to best before dates will be rolled out over the summer and will see every store either donating food and drink to local good causes or having products reduced to 20p.
“As we are mainly convenience stores, it hasn’t been beneficial for charities to collect food from our stores in the past as the amount and type of food at the end of the day is often unreliable. On some days it could be a few bread products but on other days it could be a range of fruit, veg or pasta.
“However, thanks to our partner Neighbourly, charities and local community groups can now find out what products our stores can donate before they leave their base, which makes a big difference and will help to make it a success.”
Programme donating food and benefiting local causes
At the end of each day, the store notifies a local connected good cause through Neighbourly about which food and drink items are available to collect. If the charity is unable to pick up, then it is offered to a second linked local cause.
The programme to donate food to local good causes has already been tested at 27 stores in Bristol and Bournemouth since 21st March and a total of four tonnes of food has already been donated. This is the equivalent of £17,000 worth of food and 9,000 meals that are going to individuals in need.
Recipient of the scheme, The Matthew Tree Project in Bristol, said: “We give the produce out to our clients in our food deliveries. This contributes towards the balanced range of foods which we deliver to our clients, enabling struggling and hungry families and individuals in Bristol to eat.”
Co-op food stores in East and West Sussex taking part
East Sussex food stores taking part:
- Eastbourne’s Beatty Road
- Eastbourne’s Lindfield Road
- Eastbourne’s Seaside
- Falmer’s Bramber House
- Hove’s Old Shoreham Road
- Hove’s Portland Road
- Hove’s Western Road
- Portslade’s Abinger Road
- St Leonards Battle Road 290 and 100
- Wadhurst’s Sparrows Green Road
West Sussex food stores taking part:
- Angmering’s The Square
- Bognor Regis’s Hawthorn Road
- Bognor Regis’s Rose Green Road
- Bosham’s Delling Lane
- Bosham’s Station Road
- Broadbridge Heath’s Wickhurst Square
- Burgess Hill’s Junction Road
- Burgess Hill’s London Road
- Chichester’s Bognor Road
- Chichester’s Lavant Road
- Chichester’s Oliver Whitby Road
- Chichester’s Spitalfield Lane
- Chichester’s Stockbridge Road
- East Preston’s Station Parade
- East Wittering’s Cakeham Road
- Ferring’s Ferring Street
- Haywards Heath’s Franklynn Road
- Horsham’s Guildford Road
- Selsey’s High Street,
- Yapton’s Main Road
Southern Co-op is currently working towards science-based targets to cut direct and indirect greenhouse gas emissions from the business by 2030, supported by a climate action pathway of planned activity and an initial investment of £5.8m.
To view Southern Co-op’s long-term strategy including its commitment to climate change and responsible business, visit www.thesouthernco-operative.co.uk/our-plan. Or for more information on Too Good To Go visit www.toogoodtogo.co.uk.