Redistribution group reports strong social and environmental impact from its work

Company Shop Group has saved 41,445 tonnes of food from going to waste in the past year, according to its latest report.

As part of Food Waste Action Week, the grocery redistribution group unveiled its latest impact figures during its ‘Making a Difference Together. Differently’ event, which brought together partners from across the industry.

At the event, the group streamed its first-ever annual impact film, recognising the social, economic and environmental value achieved over the last 12 months through sustainable commercial and social redistribution routes.

The business revealed it had saved 109 million items from needlessly going to waste in 2022, including 10.9 million items from non-food categories. It also saw over 18m products relabelled.

The group noted that it has increased the revenue it created for the industry, returning a further £39m to partners for the purchase of surplus stock. Over the last decade, £200m has been paid back - money Company Shop said would otherwise have been lost but instead can be reinvested in the industry.

Owen McLellan, managing director at Company Shop Group, said: “The figures we’ve released in our Impact Report show the true scale of what can be achieved when the industry comes together to take a sustainable and innovative approach to surplus. This collaboration is delivering positive impact socially, economically and environmentally.

“However, there’s more to do and we know that there remains a significant amount of surplus that is not being redistributed, which could help support even more people and communities. I know the ambition and passion to continue making a difference is strong across the industry, so I’d encourage everyone to think differently about waste and continue to work together so that we can unlock even more surplus and create even greater value for our partners, for people and for the planet.”

Significant increase in fruit and veg consumption

Across the year, shoppers at the group’s Company Shop stores collectively saved over £100m by accessing products at an average of 53 per cent off the average retail price.

Community Shop’s combination of access to deeply discounted food and learning and development initiatives has seen over 26,600 people engage with these programmes and helped 91 per cent of members feel an increased sense of financial stability, the company said.

Similarly, with more than 20,000 people attending cook clubs, 87 per cent of members reported eating more fruit and vegetables since joining. And since it opened, Community Shop has now supported 924 members into employment, and 1,044 into higher education.

Gary Stott, executive chair for Community Shop, said: “It has been a milestone year for Community Shop, meeting the soaring demand for our support from the communities we serve, thanks to the increase in the amount of surplus stock businesses have generously donated.

“Our latest impact figures demonstrate the immense impact that our sustainable and holistic model delivers, helping to build stronger individuals and more confident communities. We’re extremely proud of what we have achieved with our partners and colleagues for our members and communities.

“However, with more stock and increased industry support we know we can deliver even greater impact. We will be opening our 11th Community Shop in just a few weeks’ time and we have more in the pipeline to support people and communities who need it most. We’re therefore looking forward to building on the achievements and partnerships of this year to do even more in the coming months.”