Employees at M&S St Andrews have been working closely with their Charity of the Year, Families First, to ensure that any unsold food from the store is put to the best possible use.
The store’s partnership with the charity has been underway since April last year and has already seen 1.5 tonnes of surplus food donated to local charities including Families First, which provides a range of services to families with children aged 5-16 years old with additional support needs. Alongside this, the store has also raised over £3,000 for the charity through a number of fundraising initiatives and hopes to reach £5,000 by this April.
The donation of surplus food to the charity is part of the retailer’s nationwide food redistribution scheme through its work with Neighbourly.com, the first social network to connect local projects and community needs with companies.
The store’s donation of surplus food to the charity has been used in lots of different ways, including the charity using product during cooking lessons and last week, to create dishes as part of a special brunch to say ‘thank you’ to volunteers who play a role throughout the year. The store also worked in partnership with the charity to donate unsold festive goods on Christmas Eve, helping some families to enjoy a delicious Christmas dinner.
Campbell McInally, M&S St Andrews’ section manager, said: “Each year our M&S stores across the UK select a local community project or charity to support. Families First is close to the hearts of many of our employees and we are delighted to be supporting such a worthy cause. Whilst we work hard to reduce food waste in our store, we’re delighted to see any surplus items being put to good use by the charity.”
Morag Coleman, manager at Families First St Andrews, added: “We provide services for around 170 children in North East Fife each year and rely massively on the support of local volunteers and fundraising. We’re so grateful to the store and its employees for their continued support over the last year.”
M&S continuously invests in new systems to improve the accuracy of food allocation and distribution at stores. The retailer also sells short life food products approaching their use by date at a discount to customers, a process which now consistently clears the majority of products that would otherwise have been disposed of.
Where there is food surplus, M&S’s stores work in partnership with Neighbourly to get matched with local food charities. Like M&S St Andrews, all of M&S’s owned stores now work with over 500 charity partners redistributing products such as fruit, vegetables, bakery items and grocery items ensuring that it can be put to good use within the local community.