Morrisons will be the first supermarket chain in Great Britain to donate all its surplus food to local community organisations. The decision follows public outrage over the great amounts of unsold food which is thrown away by supermarkets. In fact every year an estimated 15 million tonnes of food is being thrown away in the UK, by supermarkets and families.
In all its 500 supermakets across the country all unsold food which is still edible will be donated by Morrisons, the fourth largest supermarket chain in the UK, to local community organisations. These charities will be able to go to Morrisons' stores and collect the food that would have been previously thrown away: fresh food like fruit and vegetables as well as canned and packaged food.
The initiative follows a trial in more than 100 stores in Yorkshire and North East and in the first part of 2016 will be extended to all stores of the group. During the trail it was found that each store could donate up to 4 trolley- loads of food a week to community groups working to feed the needy.
The project will operate by building a network of community organisations, that will deal with collecting the food, cooking and serving it in homeless shelters, community cafes and drop-in centres.
“The challenge”, as Steven Butt, Morrisons's head of CSR, explains to The Times , "is finding the right community partners to work with”.
At Morrisons the level of edible waste is minimised through measures such as discounting food before it can no longer be sold or using it in the supermarkets' staff canteens. The small percentage of edible food in Morrisons stores that is wasted is currently used to produce energy rather than going to landfill.
This new Morrisons' initiative will ensure it gets eaten.
Andrew Clappen, Group Corporate Services Director, said: “We don’t like the idea of good food going to waste and this programme will ensure that we find a home for the small amount of unsold food in our stores.”
FoodCycle is one of the recipient organisations. A national charity entirely managed by young volunteers, FoodCycle works to reduce food poverty and social isolation by serving tasty and nutritious meals to vulnerable people by using food discarded by shops.
Mary McGrath, CEO of FoodCycle, said, “We have 10 hubs close to Morrison stores and we will be taking food from those stores. This will allow us to feed more people who are at risk of loneliness, isolation and hunger and we would urge other organisations to take part.”
Steven Butts said up to 3,500 tonnes of edible food would be donated annually.
In each of the 500 Morrisons stores across the country a member of staff will be appointed “community champion”, with the role of taking the responsibility for working with community projects and their volunteers.
Cover photo: Ian Waldie/AFP/Getty Images
Morrisons photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images.
FoodCycle photo: Twitter - FoodCycle