Community larders in the north-east have struck up partnerships with the Co-op which will see their patrons enjoy fresh produce that would have otherwise been bound for the waste bin.
The Haven in Stonehaven has joined forces with the stores in Market Square and David Street as part of the Co-op’s Food Share initiative.
Also benefiting from the scheme are the Community Pantry in Brechin and the Mearns Larder in Laurencekirk.
Food Share sees Co-op’s stores give products that are close to their sell-by date to local community groups at the end of each day to prevent food waste.
To date, the Co-op has given away more than 4.6 million meals to not-for-profit groups by donating items to community groups rather than the food ending up in the bin.
The food that groups receive varies depending on what’s available on the day, although donations are bakery, fresh fruit and vegetables and also some fresh meat and chilled products.
Local element key
Co-op membership pioneer Stewart Aitken says the local element of the partnership is key to the Co-op initiative.
He said: “Co-op invested in 1,500 roles as pioneers across the whole of the UK and, as part of my role as a member pioneer, I am a ‘catalyst communicator’ and try to make a great impact for the local Co-op in the area with sub-sector not for profit community groups.
“One of the main initiatives across the UK is about food waste and the Co-op have been very strong in trying to promote ways of donating the food that has gone past its shelf life but is still fine to use.
“I had made a connection with The Haven when it first started up and I encouraged them to move from just being a wellbeing centre to have a larder because the Covid period had started when we were looking for responses to that.”