Lidl to donate 2 million meals to local charities
It's estimated that the new food surplus initiative could provide the equivalent of 2 million meals for those that really need it the most.
Despite only being the 8th biggest supermarket chain in the UK, this move raises the bar for how the nation's supermarkets deal with unsold food. Unlike France, there is no legal requirement for British supermarkets to donate waste food to charity, although a growing number of politicians are calling for the UK to adopt a similar law.
Lidl has teamed up with Neighbourly, an organisation that connects local projects with people and organisations who want to help. Lidl is also the first UK retailer to jump on board Neighbourly's #FundAFridge campaign by donating over 100 fridges and freezers to projects that struggle with the safe storage of food donated to them.
Increasing the capacity for food storage will lead to better food management, less wastage and more meals on the table for some of the UK's most needy families and individuals.
The rollout of the scheme follows a successful 8 week pilot that helped to feed more than 3,400 people across community centres, elderly day care centres, housing support projects and children’s centres in Yorkshire and Lincolnshire.
The team at Neighbourly will link each Lidl store with local partner charities that will then collect edible food surplus directly from the stores on a daily basis. Within the next couple of months, around 100 Lidl stores will be on-board and its hoped that the remainder will all have joined by this time next year.
Over on the Neighbourly website, founder Nick Davies is quoted as saying:
"The most exciting part of today’s news is not just about Lidl’s adoption of a model aiming to change how the supermarket industry deals with the redistribution of surplus, but a step towards a more holistic solution for community partners – which is long overdue.
As well as matching Lidl with local food projects, and campaigns like #FundAFridge, Neighbourly will be working to attract volunteers to help redistribute food surplus on a daily basis, reducing transportation costs for the projects taking part.
Our thanks go to the Lidl head office and project team that worked on the pilot and have helped to get this programme off the ground. Have a watch of this video from the Scunthorpe pilot to find out more about the impact the scheme is having on local communities".