Lidl UK has announced the launch of a national food redistribution programme, in partnership with Neighbourly*, that will enable all Lidl stores across England, Scotland and Wales to donate food surplus to local food charities helping to tackle food poverty, which could equate to two million meals a year.
The national rollout follows a highly successful eight-week pilot programme with stores in and around Yorkshire and Lincolnshire, which helped to feed more than 3,400 people across community centres, elderly day care centres, housing support projects and children’s centres.
The first 100 Lidl stores will be fully active by the end of June 2017, with more stores joining the programme throughout the year and the ambition to have all stores participating by summer 2018.
Through the Neighbourly network, each store will be linked to local charitable projects that will be able to collect edible food surplus directly from the stores each day.
The supermarket has also become the first retailer to sign up to Neighbourly’s #FundaFridge Campaign, donating over 100 fridges and freezers to projects that struggle with storage for the food donations that they receive.
Daniela Tulip, Lidl UK Head of Corporate Social Responsibility, commented: “This new partnership provides a great opportunity for us to make a real, positive contribution to the communities that we operate in.
“Crucially, we are able to help improve charities’ ability to safely store food through the donation of fridges and freezers, which will increase their capacity to sustainably manage surplus food and, in turn, provide more meals for those who need them.”
“Using Neighbourly means that those most in need do not face the additional pressure of having to pay to have food surplus donations delivered,” commented Nick Davies, Founder of Neighbourly .
“As we’ve seen with the success of the pilot programme with Lidl, if adopted widely, this model could change how the supermarket industry deals with the redistribution of surplus food and provide a more holistic solution for community partners. ”As well as matching Lidl with local food projects via its online platform, Neighbourly attracts volunteers to help redistribute food surplus on a daily basis, eliminating transportation costs for the food projects. Both food volunteers and projects can register interest on Neighbourly.com or by emailing email@example.com.
Adam Doncaster, a volunteer at Central Community Centre in Scunthorpe, said: “The initiative is having a great effect on our canteen. It is helping us with ingredients, so we are saving money on purchasing. We are so grateful and have put a sign up in the centre ensuring that people are aware of the input Lidl is having on their community centre.”
The announcement follows Lidl UK’s signing of the Courtauld Commitment 2025 last year, pledging to collectively reduce food waste by a fifth and double the amount of food redistributed to 30,000 tonnes in the next four years.
*Neighbourly is a social platform that matches local projects with people and organisations to redistribute food surplus to good causes.