I'm reading - Over 108 million meals generated from surplus food, with higher ambitions for the year ahead.

18.03.2024 - News

Over 108 million meals generated from surplus food, with higher ambitions for the year ahead.

Company Shop Group has today revealed it redistributed a phenomenal 45,578 tonnes of surplus food and products in 2023, marking a significant 10% increase on the previous year and the largest undertaking in its fifty-year history.

As part of its latest Impact Report, launched during Food Waste Action Week, the Group has announced it generated the equivalent of 108,500,000 meals from surplus stock in the last year alone. This saved 122,547 of CO2e – equal to taking 70,000 cars off the road and growing 2 million tree seedlings for 10 years.

To demonstrate the positive impact the Group has on industry, people and planet they also relaunched ‘The Surplus Effect’, its campaign aimed at highlighting the wider issue of waste and the key role it plays as the UK’s leading redistributor.

In 2023, a year which continued to be an economically challenging time for many businesses, the Group paid its industry partners £47 million for surplus that would have otherwise been needlessly wasted. This is a 20% increase on last year and has taken the Group’s total financial return to the industry in the last five years to a staggering £158 million.

Simultaneously, as the cost-of-living crisis continued, the Group’s 14 Company Shop superstores and 12 Community Shops across England and Scotland helped to stretch hard-working family budgets. Members collectively saved over £121 million on their shopping – up by £21 million on last year.


With millions of perfectly good products making their way in and out of its central distribution centres, the Group performed expert interventions to ensure food and products were safe to eat, use or wear. This included processing 3.2 million bottles through its Bottlewash facility, and relabelling over 20 million products, in addition to redistributing over 9.4 million non-food items.

During this period, the Group also saw a mindset shift amongst businesses with many retailers and manufacturers looking to support more sustainable, long-term solutions for food security through Community Shop.

As a result, the award-winning social enterprise welcomed a 70% increase in stock donations from partners in 2023. In addition to delivering life-changing personal development support, and working within communities on the ground each day to empower its members, the industry’s support enabled Community Shop to create over 10 million meals for families receiving welfare support.


However with over 200,000 tonnes of surplus going to waste each year, the Group is using its latest report and new campaign to reinforce its commitment to continued growth and innovation in the year ahead, so it can handle even more surplus from farm to fork, whilst changing the lives of even more families.

This will be supported by increased investment in the skills and talent required to provide technical expertise to manufacturing partners, and through enhanced collaborations amongst food and redistribution partners.

By identifying and redistributing more surplus stock, the Group is constantly investing in its store infrastructure and membership proposition to ensure that the rescued food and products are reaching people’s homes as intended. To achieve this supply and demand balance, it is enhancing the member shopping experience through a whole estate rebrand, and is increasing the range of high-quality, great value products available in each store.


Finally, the Group is continuing with its ambitious growth plans in order to meet soaring demand across Community Shop’s social supermarket network. Having opened two new stores in the last 12 months, Community Shop is set expand its store network further in the year ahead, delivering even more support to people and communities. This is in addition to working more closely with businesses and political stakeholders to create a food aid landscape which puts people, and affordable, dignified and long-term approaches, at the centre.

Owen McLellan, Managing Director of Company Shop Group, said:

“Our latest redistribution figures once again demonstrate the power of working in close collaboration with the industry, and supporting businesses to fundamentally change the way we view surplus. In doing so, more businesses than ever before have unlocked the financial, social and environmental value from their surplus, enabling us to collectively deliver meaningful support to some of the most deserving communities, whilst protecting our planet.

“We are really proud of what we have achieved over the last year, as we have constantly pushed the boundaries of what has been done before. This includes through the new technical interventions and bespoke solutions we have provided for businesses, and with the life-changing support we are delivering for our members. We are now hoping to build on this even further as we bring The Surplus Effect campaign to life and inspire even more businesses and consumers about the power of surplus.

“We remain more committed than ever before to unlocking the substantial volume of surplus which still remains untouched, and is needlessly going to waste, each year. To do that, businesses must think critically about their surplus and waste management processes and we, as a leader in redistribution, will continue to innovate and create new efficient and sustainable solutions that help the industry reduce waste whilst supporting those who need it most”.