Over five million meals dished out to communities through M&S redistribution scheme

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19 December 2018

At M&S, we believe our food is just too good to be wasted, especially when over 1.2 million people in the UK have limited access to fresh food at affordable prices. So we want to play our part in providing meals for local communities while reducing our food waste. We’ll halve our food waste by 2025 with a simple goal of ensuring all leftover food that’s good enough to eat finds its way to a person’s plate.

We’ve recently celebrated three years of our partnership with Neighbourly, a social network, which has enabled us to connect every M&S store with local food charities and organisations to help support those in need. So, what have we achieved? We’ve redistributed a huge 2,300 tonnes of leftover food from our stores – the equivalent of over five million meals – to 700 local charities including food banks, soup kitchens, hospices and youth clubs.

Our redistributed food includes a range of great quality products such as dairy, poultry, ready meals, cakes and fruit and veg, as well as non-food goods such as toiletries and cleaning items. We’re proud to have made a lasting difference in the communities surrounding our stores. And we’ll continue to play an important role in helping local charities and supporting those in need of nutritious food and household items. We’ll keep providing our live progress on the Neighbourly website too.

“Behind every one of these five million meals is a person, whether it’s a healthy snack for a child or a hot meal for a homeless person. We’re extremely proud to have worked with M&S to reduce their food waste and help them make a real difference in local communities,” commented Nick Davies, founder of Neighbourly.

We know Christmas is a crucial time of year – people need to put more food on the table and retailers need to prevent more food from being wasted. That’s why this year, we’ve planned additional activities to help our local communities over the festive period.  We’ve increased our store charity partnerships by over 50% and we’ve engaged our store colleagues by inviting them to nominate charities of their choice. Our aim is to make every moment special for all our customers and local communities this Christmas.

Neighbourly’s online platform provides a simple process for local food charities and organisations to register and receive food from a nearby store. We’ve made the process even easier for organisations to sign up this year as we hope to continue increasing our charity partnerships up and down the country.

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M&S Swiss Cottage store manager Bernard Perera and George Barrow from Dalgarno Food Banks

Dalgarno Food Banks in Kensington & Chelsea provide fresh and ambient food, as well as household products, to up to 90 individuals each week. George Barrow from Dalgarno Food Banks, says: "Over the last two days we have given out 17 Christmas hampers both to individuals and families living below the poverty-line, who without this help wouldn’t be able to meet their basic food requirements let alone celebrate Christmas. Thank you on behalf of all our recipients who really noted their appreciation of what M&S does for us."

If you’re an interested charity, why not register to receive food at a nearby M&S store on the Neighbourly website?