Supermarket giant Sainsbury’s has today (November 8) announced a £1 million fund available to towns and cities across the UK as part of its campaign to tackle food waste.
The commitment represents the second phase of the company’s five-year ‘Waste less, Save more’ strategy, developed in response to feedback from customers wanting to reduce their waste.
Under the first phase, Sainsbury’s awarded £1 million to the South Derbyshire town of Swadlincote to act as a test-bed for new and innovative ideas to help households reduce food waste (see letsrecycle.com story).
Residents in the town have been trialling a wide range of new initiatives, such as the Olio app which encourages food sharing among neighbours and smart fridges with internal cameras which allow residents to view the contents on their smart phones, thereby reducing the risk of doubling up during food shops. Community engagement work has also taken place as part of the project.
Today, at an event in Birmingham, Sainsbury’s announced that a further £1 million investment will be available to towns and cities to implement programmes that have proved successful in Swadlincote. To qualify, communities have to sign up as Waste less, Save more ‘Discovery Communities’.
In addition to the funding, Sainsbury’s will provide participating communities with detailed guidance to enable them to replicate the work in Swadlincote. These include running community events and schools programmes, through to larger initiatives such as the introduction of new technology in households.
Paul Crewe, head of sustainability, property, engineering and environment for Sainsbury’s, said: “Today marks a significant milestone in our Waste less, Save more programme as we broaden out our focus from a single trial town to sharing our learnings with communities up and down the UK.
“With well over 100 communities already signed up, the response so far has been overwhelming and really highlights that the nation is waking up to food waste. Not only will a reduction have a huge environmental impact but, with families throwing away £700 a year on uneaten food, it will help put more money back in the pocket of British people too.”
Results from the Swadlincote initiative are yet to be announced, with the project still ongoing but South Derbyshire district council was given an update in September 2016 on progress to date.
This included: 156,000 hits on the campaign website; eight Food Saver Champions undertaking over 20 events; over 2,000 children taking part in workshops as part of the Fab Food campaign: and, one school recording a 37% reduction in food waste. A full report is expected when the trial is complete.
Swadlincote is aiming to reduce food waste by 50% by the end of 2016.
David Rogers, head of food waste prevention at the WRAP, which has carried out research into the extend of food waste in the UK, said: “I’m delighted to see initiatives from Sainsbury’s shine a light on the issue of food waste, and we look forward to working together and supporting them every step of the way”.