Maleka Newman, a supervisor at the Heart of England’s new Bedworth convenience store, is pictured selecting products for people struggling to put food on the table.

Thursday 15th December 2022

The Heart of England Co-operative Society has been thanked for its role in fighting food poverty and hunger.

Surplus food from the Society’s convenience stores provided over 140,000 meals for people struggling to put food on the table during the year.

The food redistributed by the charity FareShare Midlands charity from the Co-operative’s stores weighed a staggering 58,800 kilograms.

Sending such a huge amount of food to local people, instead of it being wasted, also benefited the environment, preventing 92.8 tonnes of CO2 emissions.

The figures are revealed in the charity’s annual impact report for August 2021 – July 2022.

Simone Connolly, Chief Executive of FareShare Midlands, said: “The cost of living crisis we’re facing means more people are having to turn to local charities for support, and the demand for FareShare food is rising fast.

“Heart of England Co-op is a longstanding and valued partner of ours. By diverting surplus food from its stores to us, we’ve been able to redistribute enough food to support 140,000 meals for people who right now are struggling to afford to eat.

“We’re hugely grateful to them for their commitment to reducing food waste and supporting their local communities.”

She added: “In the UK, food waste accounts for between six and seven per cent of total greenhouse gas emissions, with an estimated two million tonnes of perfectly edible food needlessly wasted on UK farms and in factories every year, instead of being sent to charities and community groups.”

The food supplied by the Heart of England Co-op consists of good quality products that can no longer be sold.  Perfectly edible bread, fruit and vegetables are packaged up at the end of each day and collected for onward distribution to FareShare Midlands.

Steve Browne, General Manager of Heart of England Co-op’s food division, was delighted to hear how valuable the Society’s offerings had proved to be.

“Our link-up with FareShare Midlands not only helps people in our communities but also the environment. This report clearly underlines the enormous value of our partnership with FareShare.

“I would like to thank all colleagues who have been involved in and continue to support this initiative. We’ve just opened our 37th food store located in Bedworth and it too will be part of this fantastic project.”

FareShare Midlands is the region’s largest food redistribution charity, fighting food poverty and hunger by tackling waste. It relies on an army of volunteers to send food to 550 frontline charities, such as school breakfast clubs, community centres and organisations supporting those who are homeless, unemployed, socially isolated and recovering from addiction.

These organisations provide meals and food parcels to more than 60,000 vulnerable people every week.