Charity and retailer join forces to fight food waste

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Around £8 billion worth of food is thrown out annually in the UK, enough to fill Wembley stadium eight times.

Naturally, any reduction in this has got to be a positive one.

Enter north west retailer Booths and Lancaster & District Homeless Action Service (LDHAS), who have come up with a new way to both tackle food waste and feed the needy in a first of its kind agreement.

In a bid to save leftovers from landfill and support local charities, Booths has devised a comprehensive scheme to deliver edible food waste to the local homeless charity.

The pilot scheme has been developed by Booths and LDHAS director Simon Truelove and takes in food donations from Kirkby Lonsdale, Milnthorpe, Carnforth, Scotforth and Torrisholme stores.

Colin Porter, customer experience development manager at Booths, said: “Booths works hard to be a sustainable business with strong links to local communities. “It’s important as a business we make sure the waste we donate is able to be used appropriately and locally to meet the demands of those in need.

“We’ve long wanted to work with local charities to implement a robust and workable scheme to deal with food waste in our stores.

“There are strict guidelines surrounding how supermarkets dispose of food waste and we have been working to find the best targeted approach to get as much wholesome food into the mouths of those in need.”

The scheme is set to be rolled out across all Booths stores working with local charities on the ground to reduce food waste and encourage donations.

The LDHAS works alongside other charities in the area, including the British Legion, and the local church groups The Ark and Olive Branch to ensure the food is distributed to those in need.

Every Friday, The Ark cooks a hot meal at St Thomas’s Church from 6-7pm using the Booths food donations.

About 40 people, ranging from the elderly in housing poverty to struggling young families and the homeless receive a hot meal and are given food parcels to take away.

Booths, which has won a string of national and European awards for its responsible business practices, has introduced a number of initiatives across all foods in recent years.

A spokeswoman for Booths said the company took a year to develop a scheme with LDHAS that met both their demands and the supermarkets’ waste.

Simon Truelove added: “We rely on community donations for food, and so working alongside Booths is tremendous.

“We’re really grateful for the donations and having a regular supply of quality fresh food is incredibly helpful.

“As Booths supplies us with a range of fresh and ambient food, it encourages those in need to cook for themselves.

“The simple act of making a meal gives purpose to a day, nourishing much more than a hunger by going some way to help them to find a new direction.”

In a bid to understand the needs of the homeless and disadvantaged, store managers Mark Langstaff from Scotforth, Chris Betts from Torrisholme and Steve Allen from Carnforth cooked meals for the homeless association.