The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, has announced £300,000 of funding for new “social supermarkets” that reduce food waste by selling stock at low prices to local people on low incomes and struggling with food poverty.
The food is in-date and would otherwise be thrown away by big retailers for a variety of reasons, including items packaged and weighed incorrectly and over-production.
London boroughs can apply for a share of the fund to help set up pilot supermarkets, which help families on lower incomes and offer a range of supportive community services.
The new shops will receive funding from the Mayor’s High Street Fund as part of a £129m investment from the Mayor that has already improved 56 high streets across the capital and attracted £56m of match funding from public and private sector partners, aimed specifically at helping London’s high streets to adapt and thrive.
The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson – “Community Shop’s range of training and skills services make it a hugely positive resource. My funding will help boroughs kick start similar ‘social supermarket’ ventures that can really help local people on tight budgets”
The announcement came as the Mayor visited London’s first social supermarket, Community Shop in West Norwood, Lambeth. The shop’s customers are local people who can buy a range of discounted fresh and packaged food for approximately one–third of the retail cost. The shop has a “Community Hub”, where a range of local partners provide mentoring, budgeting and debt advice, job training and cookery classes.
To be eligible to join the shop customers have to be on lower incomes and live locally. The shop uses any excess stock as ingredients in its popular in-house community café, which serves a variety of meals and delicious snacks made by their chef.
Community Shop reduces food waste by selling residual stock that would be thrown away by major retailers. In the UK, 4.1m tonnes of food is wasted in the grocery retail supply chain each year.
The scheme is helping tackle the problem of food waste and has already helped divert 1170 tonnes of unwanted food from landfill – the equivalent of 97 Routemaster buses – to his successful FoodSave scheme that has helped 200 small and medium sized food organisations prevent food waste and put surplus to good use.
Businesses have been busy turning their surplus food into meals and their food by-products into animal feed, making a collective saving of £582,437. FoodSave traders in Borough Market have used the scheme to turn food surplus previously sent to landfill into 4,800 nourishing meals for hundreds of people living in the area.
The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: “I want to see more innovative schemes on our high streets that tackle food waste, help communities and offer access to a variety of good standard cheaper food. Community Shop’s range of training and skills services make it a hugely positive resource. My funding will help boroughs kick start similar ‘social supermarket’ ventures that can really help local people on tight budgets.
“I’m also immensely proud that small cafes and restaurants have managed to stop 1,000 tonnes of food being wasted by strategically diverting their surplus stock with help from my FoodSave scheme. It’s important we continue to reduce London’s landfill and ensure quality edible food is not discarded.”
FoodSave is run by the Sustainable Restaurant Association and Sustain, and funded by the Mayor of London. It is keen for all food businesses to use the online resources available to reduce their food waste and continue the practices of the programme.