Aldi launches new regional redistribution scheme in bid to slash food waste
Discount supermarket chain Aldi is set to directly donate surplus food from 24 of its UK stores to local charities after partnering with product redistribution platform Neighbourly.
Under the three-month pilot, Aldi stores across Yorkshire, London, the North East, and the South East will donate surplus items directly to community organisations in their local areas. Items set to be donated include fresh produce, bakery goods, non-perishable food and non-perishable household items.
If the trial is successful, a similar, localised approach to food redistribution will be applied to all of Aldi UK and Ireland’s 827 stores before the end of 2019.
This move, Aldi claims, would enable the supermarket to donate around three million meals to those in need every year – up 50% from the two million meals it redistributed through its existing food waste partnerships last year. The retailer has been working with Fareshare and Company Shop to redistribute surplus products in the UK since 2012.
“We’re always looking for new and creative ways to increase the amount of food we are able to donate,” Aldi UK and Ireland’s managing director of corporate responsibility Fritz Walleczek said.
“This partnership is enabling us to be even more efficient in how we distribute surplus stock while supporting a vast range of causes, from local schools and community centres, to local food banks. Our aim is for fresh, healthy food to be accessible for everyone and Neighbourly is helping us to extend this commitment beyond our affordable range of fresh products.”
Neighbourly’s chief executive Steve Butterworth added that sending surplus products directly to local causes is “critical” to ensuring that corporate donations reach those who need them most.
Waste not, want not
The announcement from Aldi UK and Ireland builds on the company’s zero waste to landfill target, which it met in 2014.
Since then, the company has pledged to halve the amount of food wasted within its operations by 2030, as part of its membership to the Friends of Champions 12.3 network. The network is a coalition of government, business and civil society leaders which aims to accelerate progress towards theSustainable Development Goal (SDG) 12 aim of halving global food waste by 2030.
Aldi UK and Ireland is also a member of WRAP’s Food Waste Reduction Roadmap initiative. Launched last September, the scheme has seen 89 companies pledge to play their part in reducing Britain’s annual £20bn food waste costs by acting on wastage levels across a "farm-to-fork" approach. It notably encompasses the entire food supply chain, with producers, manufacturers, retailers, restaurants and food service companies among the early adopters of the cause.
Love thy neighbour
As for Neighbourly, the partnership with Aldi UK and Ireland comes at a time of considerable growth for the platform.
The firm has redistributed more than 3.22 million meals and almost six tonnes of sundries such as cleaning and laundry products, toiletries and pet food since its launch in 2015, after partnering with the likes of Lidl, Marks and Spencer (M&S) and Starbucks.
But this progress could soon be set to accelerate, with Butterworth having recently told edie that Neighbourly is now set to roll out across Europe. This potential expansion, he said, is being driven not by the enterprise itself, but by its client businesses, which are becoming increasingly focused on developing holistic strategies to tackle food waste.