Social retailer sees record demand for its services and asks the food industry for further help

Social retail enterprise Community Shop has urged the food and drink industry to maximise the value from its surplus stock after revealing a doubling in demand for its services.

With more families than ever having to make the choice between a warm home and a warm meal, Community Shop announced that it served a record 45,808 baskets – a 104% increase in demand – for its services in December.

Community Shop operates 10 social supermarket stores across the UK, all of which are in areas of high deprivation and are open to people receiving welfare support. It works with the FMCG industry to redistribute surplus stock that might have otherwise gone to waste, enabling its members to access high-quality, low-cost food and essential products.

The surplus stock donated by the industry also helps to power each of Community Shop’s Kitchens, where members can access homemade wholesome meals, and learning and development hubs. The hubs deliver transformative personal development training, including programmes that support health, wellbeing and money matters, to increase members’ confidence, build on strengths and overcome barriers in their lives.

With recent analysis from the Resolution Foundation suggesting that the average UK household is only halfway through the cost-of-living crisis and with incomes set to fall further, Community Shop has predicted further significant increases in demand for its services in 2023.

To meet this growing demand for support, Community Shop has already announced its next store will open soon, and is now asking for more businesses to review their supply chains to identify and unlock surplus stock that can be used to create significant positive impact for people and communities across the country.

Owen McLellan, Company Shop Group’s managing director, said: “The redistribution of surplus stock makes a critical difference to families in the UK who rely on it being available to help their stretched budgets go further. Through the support of our partners, we were able to provide thousands of meals to adults and children, as well as activities and gifts, that helped maintain the magic of Christmas.

“With the right intervention surplus stock can be fuel for change and in Community Shop we provide a powerful combination of much-needed relief from food poverty, and access to life changing learning and development programmes.

“We’ll continue to see a growing need for this support and that’s why we’re today asking the industry to work with us to identify opportunities to redistribute surplus products – which may otherwise be seen and treated as waste – so that we can continue supporting those that need it the most.”