The collaboration between the UK’s first ‘social supermarket’ and the food surplus charity will see the launch of FoodCycle Hubs in every one of the Community Shop’s stores.

The Community Shop was launched in 2013 and now has two stores. Food is sold to community members at around a third of the price of standard shops. Leading retailers and supermarkets supply surplus products to the shops, which also offer local community advice, such as CV-writing and job interview practice.

Now the supermarkets will also feature ‘FoodCycle Hubs’, where volunteers cook meals for the local community at no cost. The local stores will prepare meals for up to 40 of each shop’s members.

Community Shop managing director Mark Game said: “Not only will the FoodCycle Hub provide Community Shop members with delicious hot meals, but it will also open up opportunities for members to volunteer and develop their skill set, build their confidence and embed themselves in the heart of their community.”

Building relationships

FoodCycle aims to reduce food waste and food poverty with 20 existing FoodCycle Hubs across the UK. Community Shop will benefit FoodCycle by providing volunteers from its members, an abundance of surplus food and community space and cooking facilities.

FoodCycle CEO Mary McGrath said: “FoodCycle aims to build stronger communities by combining volunteers, surplus food and local community kitchen spaces to cook nutritious three course meals for people at risk of food poverty and social isolation.

“We are delighted to be working with Community Shop to support local people to develop and run local FoodCycle Hubs. In doing this, local people develop practical skills that develop both confidence and self-esteem, while also building relationships within the community.”

Supermarket waste

Other larger retailers have also agreed to tackle food waste through redistribution to charities. At the recent Fairshare Food Surplus Summit, representatives from Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Asda and the British Retail Consortium agreed to help address the ongoing issue of food waste in the UK, promising to “leave our corporate colours at the door”.

A petition on recently called on European governments to crack down on supermarket food waste in Europe, with more than 600,000 people signing up to support the campaign.

Matt Field

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