Five major food retailers have backed ‘chill to freeze’ tech to cut food waste, while an online platform has helped another to redistribute 24 tonnes of food over the last year.

Marks & Spencer, Iceland, Aldi, Sainsbury’s and The Co-op have endorsed a freezing innovation developed by food re-distributor Company Shop, which will see surplus stock blast frozen and then sold on as frozen product.

‘Chill to freeze’

The process is an industry-first in the redistribution sector and aims to address the long-standing challenge of how to redistribute stock with limited shelf life.

Joanna Holland, senior client manager at Company Shop, said: “We’re delighted to have secured approval for ‘chill to freeze’ from five big name retailers and discussions are at an advanced stage with other major brand owners too.

“Chill to freeze will enhance our capabilities so that we can take even more surplus stock and help ensure it gets used for the purpose it was originally intended for.”

Louise Nicholls, corporate head of human rights, food sustainability (Plan A) and food packaging at M&S, added: “We’re finding new ways to accelerate towards our goal of halving our food waste by 2025. Company Shop’s ‘chill to freeze’ process will enable us to go further and faster and most importantly, will help us to redistribute more food to communities nearby our stores.”

‘Feed it Back’

Meanwhile, Lidl stores in Greater Manchester have redistributed 24 tonnes of surplus food to community projects over the past 12 months thanks to the supermarket’s ‘Feed it Back’ initiative.

The Feed it Back programme is delivered in partnership with redistribution platform Neighbourly, which directly connects Lidl stories with local charities, food banks, community cafes and soup kitchens.

Lidl has donated the equivalent of over 3 million meals across the country since launching the initiative in January 2017.

Mark Newbold, CSR manager at Lidl UK said: “We’re seeing just how impactful the Feed it Back network is in connecting local communities with our stores and helping to build strong relationships. We are extremely proud of our store teams’ efforts to date in Manchester and look forward to continuing to build these partnerships across the country.”

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