Leading retailer M&S offers surplus food to Wetherby charities and community groups

Marks and Spencer are now looking for more charities and community groups across Wetherby to join its food redistribution scheme.

By Lucy Chappell
Thursday, 16th December 2021, 4:00 pm

Since 2015, M&S and Neighbourly, its food redistribution partner, have worked together to donate surplus food to local charities and community groups.

M&S and Neighbourly developed a new app for colleagues to revolutionise how they donate surplus food which automatically notifies charity partners of anything unsold at the end of the day that can be collected from their local store.

The app is used by all 585 M&S stores across the country which has enabled many of them to more than double their food redistribution rates.

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Marks and Spencer colleagues Louise and Ben with a charity partner who receive surplus food as part of the food redistribution scheme

Across Wetherby, 17,500 meals have been donated to local charities and community groups, such as Helping Hands UK, Martin House Children’s Hospice and Resurrected Bites since the scheme began – with more than 22.5 million meals donated across the UK since 1st March 2020 alone.

By providing charities with updates in real-time, the new app enables them to collect even more meals to feed the people they support.

With the new system in place, M&S stores across Wetherby are now looking for more charity partners in an effort to ensure all surplus food reaches the plates of those who need it most.

Marks and Spencer colleague Liz using the brand new app that alerts charity partners of anything unsold at the end of the day that can be collected from their local store

With 9.5 million tonnes of food being wasted every year in homes and businesses across the United Kingdom, the programme is a key part of M&S’s Plan A initiative and aims to help reduce the environmental impact of food waste.

M&S launched its Plan A initiative in 2007, becoming the first major retailer to reach carbon neutral status in 2012.

Last month M&S further pledged to cut its carbon footprint by a third by 2025, as part of its commitment to become a net zero Scope 3 business across its entire supply chain and products by 2040.

The retailer has set out a detailed roadmap to net zero using science-based targets aligned to the UN ambition of limiting global warming to 1.5c.

Rona Hulbert, Regional Manager at M&S North Yorkshire, said: “We’re extremely proud of our food redistribution programme with Neighbourly that helps provide meals for people in our local communities.

"Across our region there are lots of successful partnerships but with the launch of the app we’re able and eager to do more, so we are looking for charities to come forward to partner with our stores to help us redistribute the surplus and support our work to reduce the environmental impact of food surplus.”

Charity and community groups based in the region 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.