Central England Co-op customers and members can now pick up a ‘Magic Bag’ of discounted food in its stores thanks to a partnership with food waste app Too Good To Go which is hoped will save almost 230,000 meals from going to waste every year.
The retailer is rolling out the scheme across its over 260 food stores in 16 counties following a successful six-week trial earlier this year.
The link-up with Too Good To Go will work in tandem with the Society’s ground-breaking food redistribution partnership with FareShare Midlands, giving it an extra route to reducing food waste and help in its aim to be Carbon Neutral by 2030.
Customers and members with the free Too Good To Go mobile app, which lists nearby businesses with unsold food, can now find their local Central England Co-op store on the app and purchase a ‘Magic Bag’ priced at £4 which will contain at least £12 worth of food.
Claire Koziol, Head of Stores at Central England Co-op, explained the environmental benefits of the partnership and how it is complementing its ongoing work to reduce food waste.
He said: “Through our partnership with FareShare Midlands we have a great process in place for the distribution of ‘best before’ products that have reached the end of their shelf life but can still be utilised by the projects FareShare supports across our communities.
“That, however, still leaves ‘use by’ products that ultimately would have to go in the bin, as despite stores using the reduced to clear process there inevitably will still be waste. That is where Too Good To Go can really help.
“These ‘use by’ products are still high-quality items that customers want, and it is a great solution if people are able to utilise them the same day or can freeze them to use them at a later date.
“A big benefit from our point of view is that we are reducing food waste even further. We have already reduced our food waste by 40% through the redistribution project with FareShare Midlands and this will reduce it even more as we target 50% by 2025.
“The results of the trial showed us how successful this could be and therefore we are excited to roll-out the scheme across all our stores to give our customers and members the opportunity to get some delicious food at a fraction of the price it would usually be.
“At the same time, we forecast it could save almost 230,000 meals going to waste and save over half a million tonnes of CO2e (Carbon dioxide equivalent) each year which will make a major difference in our aims to create a sustainable Society for all.”
Paschalis Loucaides, UK Country Manager, Too Good To Go, said: “I’m delighted to welcome Central England Co-op to our growing community of food waste warriors.
“Food waste accounts for 10% of global greenhouse gas emissions and by working with partners like Central England Co-op we can continue to take a huge bite out of the problem. I know our app users are going to love fighting food waste alongside them.”
The ‘Magic Bags’ launched in all Central England Co-op stores last week and in its first full week, 2,113 bags have been saved from going to waste, which equates to 5,283kg of CO2e saved.
The free Too Good To Go app can be downloaded from most mobile app stores just search Too Good To Go and start saving.