Sainsbury’s has unveiled its latest move in the fight against food waste, by announcing a £1 million fund available to towns and cities across the UK. The commitment is the second phase of its Waste less, Save more strategy, designed to help households save money by reducing the amount of food destined for the bin.
Announced at an event in Birmingham on November 8th , the £1 million investment will be available to towns and cities which have signed up as Waste less, Save more ‘Discovery Communities’. From Dundee to Truro, the communities have been tasked with implementing programmes that have proved successful during a year’s worth a research in Swadlincote, Derbyshire, where the retailer launched their first phase of the food waste scheme in January 2016.
In addition to the funding, Sainsbury’s will provide Discovery Communities with detailed guidance to enable them to replicate the work in Swadlincote with a range of free or low-investment solutions. These include running community events and schools programmes, through to larger initiatives such as the introduction of new technology in households.
Communities will be able to pick and choose their options based on their requirements, and will be able to apply for top-up funding to put these in place. Those with additional ideas can also pitch concepts to the Waste less, Save more ‘Dragon’s Den’ style panel which will approve additional funding for outstanding concepts.
Hosted at Birmingham’s Custard Factory, the event was attended by leaders from participating communities. In total 111 Discovery Communities have now been confirmed, and others that wish to be involved can register interest from today.
Speaking at the event in Birmingham, 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.”
David Rogers, WRAP added: “Today’s event has highlighted a huge appetite to reduce food waste across the country from local councils, community groups and businesses. WRAP’s research has shown the scale of food waste in the UK, and we know that action is needed – for people, our pockets and the planet. 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”.
Launched in late 2015, Waste less, Save more is a five year strategy from Sainsbury’s to help its customers waste less food and save more money. Each year, homes throw away 7 million tonnes of food, costing families an estimated £12.5bn. Following a nationwide search, the Derbyshire town of Swadlincote was selected as a test-bed for activity, with Sainsbury’s trialling a wide range of new initiatives across a one year period.
Trials taking place in the town include the Olio app which encourages food sharing amongst neighbours, and the ‘Fab Foods’ programme which has been designed to engage local schools. Elsewhere households are testing innovative technology such as smart fridges with internal cameras. By allowing residents to view contents via their smart phone, these fridges eliminate the risk doubling up during food shops, a practice which costs the UK £1.5 billion each year.