M&S stores in Yorkshire have marked an important milestone as the local teams across the area have helped to donate more than 2.5 million meals to communities and those in need.
This has been achieved through its food redistribution programme, in partnership with community investment platform Neighbourly.
Charities and community groups across Yorkshire, such as Food Aware CIC and Gleadless Valley Foodbank have partnered with M&S to help provide free food to the people they support.
Through its programme, and its commitment to help tackle food waste M&S is able to distribute unsold items to its charity partners.
These items include food products that are still fit for consumption but may be nearing their use by date to products that may be left on the shelf where the packaging is damaged, but the food inside is safe and good quality.
M&S and Neighbourly are not only helping groups across the nation feed communities and those in need but are also helping reduce CO2 emissions in doing so.
Since the start of the programme M&S and Neighbourly have saved 53k tonnes of CO2 through food and product donations. Any food that can’t be redistributed is sent to create energy to power homes and businesses.
Rona Hulbert, regional manager at M&S, said: “We’re proud of the role we play in our community and we’re continuing to contribute where we can.
"We’re thrilled that our food redistribution programme with Neighbourly has already helped to make such a difference to charities that do such an incredible job in our community.”
While the food redistribution programme has been going since 2015, the 2020 rollout of an innovative colleague app which makes it easier for store teams to donate surplus food to charities has allowed M&S to respond to the increased demand for donations from groups who are helping people through difficult times during the pandemic.
The app is in all 585 M&S stores, enabling many of them to more than double their food redistribution rates since launch. Across the UK, donations since March 2020 have now surpassed the 23 million mark.
As M&S continues to offer more single pack portions and proceed to review the best before date labels and food promotions, customers and employees are encouraged not to buy more than they need or throw away food that’s still edible.
The programme aims to help reduce the environmental impact of food surplus and ensure in cases of leftover food that’s not safe to eat, it is always sent to anaerobic digestion to be used to produce energy.
M&S is always looking for new partners to work with. Local charity and community groups who would like to get involved in the food surplus programme or other charity initiatives are encouraged to email [email protected] to find out more.