I'm reading - Community Shop and Ocado​ Retail​ join forces to launch new ‘On the Go’ initiative

07.02.2024 - News

Community Shop and Ocado​ Retail​ join forces to launch new ‘On the Go’ initiative

Award-winning social supermarket, Community Shop, has launched a new innovative ‘On the Go’ service to further tackle food insecurity in some of the UK’s most deprived communities.

In partnership with Ocado​ Retail​, Community Shop is launching a mobile version of its impactful stores, providing six of the most deprived communities in England with immediate food access via new pop-up shops.

The pop-ups will expand the social enterprise’s power to reach even more communities and families who are struggling with the ongoing cost of living crisis, alongside helping businesses to unlock the power of surplus in tackling unnecessary food waste. It also marks another joint venture between Ocado and Community Shop, who have worked in close collaboration for many years.

Part of Company Shop Group, the UK’s largest surplus redistributor, Community Shop is the UK’s first social supermarket chain, and helps businesses to save their unnecessary waste, taking donated surplus products from retailers, producers, and growers to provide high-quality, deeply discounted food and household products to those most in need.  

Thanks to the new ‘On the Go’ van donated by Ocado, eligible families can visit fully stocked mobile shops and put together a shopping basket of healthy, staple foods and household products for as little as £3. The new initiative will also share food education services, helping more people to learn about healthy, affordable, and sustainable eating to deliver longer-term impact for communities.   

The newly launched pop-up stores are just one of the many ways that Community Shop works with partners and retailers across the sector to save products that would have otherwise gone to waste, unlocking their potential to deliver sustainable and long-term support initiatives such as life-changing personal development programmes, people-centred Community Hubs and Kitchens, and bespoke training opportunities to get people back into work and help build more confident communities.  

The new concept has already been extremely successful in Barnsley, where an initial pilot redistributed more than 11,000 products to families and received excellent feedback from community members who benefitted from the mobile store.  

Now, with additional funding from Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council, the new service will launch in six further locations in 2024, reaching an additional 10,000 families.  

Gary Stott, Executive Chairman of Community Shop, said: “We are very excited to officially be launching Community Shop ‘On the Go’, which will expand our efforts to tackle food waste across the nation, and bring vital food access and educational support to families. Reflecting on a decade of Community Shop, we have seen just how much of a difference our Community Hubs and Kitchens make to families and those struggling with food insecurity. However, we know there is more to be done, and we are committed to bringing the impact of our stores to as many people as possible through our ‘On the Go’ programme. 

“A huge thanks goes to both Ocado​ Retail​ and Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council for all their collaboration and generosity which has helped this happened. We would encourage businesses who want to do something wholly positive with their surplus to get in touch and find out more about what Community Shop can do.”   

Jonathan Wiseman, General Counsel and Chief People Officer at Ocado Retail said: We’re incredibly proud to be supporting Community Shop’s new On the Go programme. Ocado has worked with Community Shop for many years now and we know what a huge difference the service makes to communities up and down the country. We’re looking forward to continuing to support this fantastic charity.” 


Cllr Wendy Cain, Cabinet Spokesperson for Public Health and Communities said: We are delighted to have been chosen to host Community Shop On the Go, and to be the first area to benefit from the excellent quality and service it provides to our residents.  Barnsley Council, through its GoodFood Partnership is dedicated to improving access to good quality food for all, and Community Shop On the Go is helping us realise this ambition.  We wish the team at Community Shop every success with the expansion of this provision, and would encourage other local authorities to embrace this service, which has proved successful in every site it supports in our area.”