Central England Co-operative – Written evidence (FPO0060)


3) How accessible is healthy food? What factors or barriers affect people’s ability to consume a healthy diet? Do these factors affect populations living in rural and urban areas differently?


5) What can be learnt from food banks and other charitable responses to hunger? What role should they play?


We work with numerous Trussell Trust and independent foodbanks directly and through our food redistribution partner FareShare East Midlands.


These projects work hard every day to make food accessible regardless of religion, ethnicity, income or education.  They also work to ensure the food offered is “good” food, fresh where possible, balanced, compliant and of good standards.  As demand grows, so does their reach and their remit catering not only for physical needs but for the social and emotional needs of service users. 


Food in this context is an enabler, a reason for people to travel, to come together and receive the pastoral care they need.  These projects recognise poor diet as a symptom of the situation they find themselves in for example, addiction or poor mental health or it may be the reason for physical or mental ill health. 


Community based food projects are managing and monitoring complex physical and emotional needs, sometimes with little or no training, almost always with no funding, tailoring their responses to the local need – and they do a brilliant job.


4) What role can local authorities play in promoting healthy eating in their local populations, especially among children and young people, and those on lower incomes? How effectively are local authorities able to fulfil their responsibilities to improve the health of people living in their areas? Are you aware of any existing local authority or education initiatives that have been particularly successful (for example, schemes around holiday hunger, providing information on healthy eating, or supporting access to sport and exercise)?


Central England Co-operative Member and Community Council Ambassadors and Member and Community Relations Officers both regularly deliver healthy choices workshops in schools and to other vulnerable groups.  The sessions include portion sizes, food groups and use the Eatwell Plate as a model.  The rising demand for these sessions shows a local, grass roots desire to be better informed and to make better, healthier eating choices at a young age and an opportunity for authorities to offer education in this respect.


11) How effective are any current measures operated or assisted by Government, local authorities, or others to minimise food waste? What further action is required to minimise food waste?


As signatories of Courtauld 2025 and strong supporters of WRAP and the Love Food Hate Waste campaign we welcome the appointment of Ben Elliott as the Government's first Food Surplus and Waste Champion and Defra’s £15m food redistribution fund.


In 2018 we piloted and implemented a one of a kind solution to store based surpluses from 230 of our stores.  We backhaul in scope food which is consolidated, checked and taken a short distance to our partner FareShare East Midlands.  FareShare then distribute to carefully chosen community partners who’s needs match the profile of our surpluses.


We are projecting over one million meals per year will be redistributed, reducing store based food waste by 40%.


Our market share is around .5% and based on WRAPs 2018 figures our contribution to the UK redistribution market is more than three times this much evidencing the efficiency of this model.


We have had the opportunity to demonstrate this process to a number of other retailers and hope that elements of the scheme may be implemented to ensure similar impact for their store surpluses.


We believe government incentives would encourage both organisations and consumers to find more efficient solutions and ensure collective responsibility.




12 September 2019