Unpretty can be popular with consumers

26 March 2019
Unpretty can be popular with consumers

Company Shop, the UK’s largest redistributor of surplus stock, has today released figures showing over 2.1 million units of plain packaged products will have been purchased by its customers by the time the company’s financial year ends on 30th September 2018.

 The news follows research published by the University of Edinburgh last week which reported that more than four million tonnes of good food is wasted in the UK each year due to cosmetic standards, in part because of customer expectations of how it should look.
 
Yet Company Shop’s figures are evidence that aesthetics are not everything. The commercial redistributor sells both branded and unbranded goods, and the latest numbers indicate an increasing willingness amongst customers to choose ‘unpretty’ products for the right reasons.

 
Numerous retailers have branched out into ‘wonky’ fruit and vegetables in recent months, as part of a broader drive to tackle the estimated six million tonnes of total avoidable food waste each year. Company Shop’s figures are further evidence that consumers are happy to look beyond first impressions when doing their weekly shop.
 
Company Shop’s commercial redistribution model allows it to accept surplus products from across the supply chain which may otherwise have gone to waste. The group can accept surplus stock across chilled, ambient and frozen categories that has yet to be packaged or which requires repackaging because of issues such as ingredient labelling errors.

The products can be sold in plain packaging with a simple black and white Company Shop label showing nutritional, ingredient and allergen information, together with the best before and/or use by date, to be fully compliant. Members purchase these products at a discounted price in the knowledge they are saving perfectly good food from going to waste.
 
By relabelling these products Company Shop also provides brand integrity for its partners, which is further strengthened by the group’s member only model, which involves educating members on the reasons for surplus.
 
Company Shop operates five member only superstores around the UK, with a sixth opening near Sunderland next month, and handles more than 50,000,000 items every year for the retailers, manufacturers and brands it serves.
 
Redistribution across the industry has soared by 50% in the last two years to 43,034 tonnes in 2017, according to recent WRAP figures. However, it is estimated that there is potential to increase this to 200,000 tonnes annually, almost five times the current figure.




Jane Marren, Company Shop Managing Director, said:

 “We are delighted at these sales figures, which show that consumers are more than willing to purchase ‘unpretty’ products that would otherwise have gone to waste. 

 
“Our members love it because they understand why it’s there, they get a great price and they are helping to prevent good products from going to waste. 
 
“This example shows how we can work with suppliers, manufacturers and brands to ensure that food fit for human consumption reaches people’s plates. 
 
“By redistributing surplus, we provide commercial and social returns for our partners, great products at great prices for our members, and a real environmental solution that helps to tackle the UK’s food waste challenge.”
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