The West of England is “stepping up to the plate” when it comes to tackling food waste, according to Metro Mayor Dan Norris. He was speaking after visiting the Southern Co-op store on Widcombe Hill in Bath to learn how a waste reduction scheme is helping customers reduce the amount of food sent to landfill. Mr Norris said the move will help ease the cost-of-living crisis as hard-pressed families get their hands on some cut-price grub.
In a bid to crack down on waste, the shop is now selling various food products after their ‘best-before' date at a reduced price of 20p. From the fresh food aisles, customers can expect to bag bargain soft fruits and vegetables, sold up to two-days past their best-before date. The dry products will range from pasta, rice, confectionary and condiments and are capped at seven days post their date. Any remaining food waste at the store is also being diverted from landfill and used to produce biogas and bio-fertiliser instead.
The move is part of an expansion of the regional co-operative’s Reducing our Foodprint initiative that focuses on best-before dates to tackle food waste and builds on the work Southern Co-op has carried out to reduce its overall carbon footprint. An initial trial of the scheme saw 16,862 items processed at the 20p price point and saved from landfill last year.
Mr Norris met Store Manager James Wilson and Head of Commercial Operations at Southern Co-op Charles Duthie to learn more about how the scheme will help crack down on the 7,970 tonnes of edible food thrown away across Bath and North East Somerset.
The Metro Mayor hopes the initiative will encourage local people not to throw good food away and help struggling families as the cost of living soars. He said: “Reducing our food waste has the potential to save resources, cut pollution and increase food security. I am pleased that our region is showing real leadership in this area. Food past its best before date can still be healthy, tasty and nutritious, and there is absolutely no reason it should be discarded. With the cost of food and bills continuing to soar, this move will also help customers a budget. I am hugely grateful to James and Charles for all their hard work on a great initiative. They and their teams really are their ‘stepping up to the plate’ ensuring that we minimise waste and get the best possible value for consumers across our region.”