Marks & Spencer launches new food redistribution scheme
The retailer is working in partnership with Neighbourly, the social network for social good, to deliver the scheme which will include an online process on Neighbourly’s website to enable food charities to register and receive food from their local store. In addition, Marks & Spencer will be able to monitor what products are resulting in surplus and how this can be reduced.
The scheme will also see Marks & Spencer become the first major retailer to provide live updates on the number of tonnes of surplus food redistributed.
Food charities are being invited to participate in the scheme by 12 October. In the initial launch phase, 150 of the biggest stores will be ready to redistribute surplus food by December, followed by a roll out to all Marks & Spencer's owned stores by Spring 2016. Redistributed food will include products nearing their expiry date including fruit, vegetables, bread, cakes and groceries, and will vary according to charity need.
The launch follows a series of trials and pilots in 45 stores aimed at finding the most effective way of redistributing surplus food. The scheme with Neighbourly was trialled in six stores in the Bristol and Bath area and supported a number of local food charities including the Bristol North West Food Bank and the Upper Horfield Community Trust.
Since April, the six stores have redistributed nearly four tonnes of surplus food and charity collections are now occurring on a daily basis.
Louise Nicholls, head of responsible sourcing, packaging & Plan A at Marks & Spencer, said: “This is the first nationwide redistribution scheme to provide an innovative, practical solution to surplus food redistribution by building local connections, enabling all our stores to link with local food projects and help support their communities. Our ambition is that this, alongside the work we are doing with our suppliers, will accelerate us towards our Plan A target of reducing food waste in our stores by 20% by 2020.”
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