Neighbourly food redistribution scheme expanded to include non-food product donations
Social platform Neighbourly has expanded its surplus food redistribution scheme, Neighbourly Food, to include non-food product donations after 92 per cent of its charity partners expressed a desire for those products, with Marks & Spencer (M&S) the first retail partner to contribute to the expanded platform.Neighbourly Food has supplied over 1.8 million meals through the 1,500 tonnes of surplus food collected and redistributed. More than 700 charities use the scheme, using the donated food to provide around 95,000 meals a month to homeless shelters, community centres, schools and food banks, amongst others, in communities across the country.
The free-to-use service connects national retailers and businesses to local charities, who can then request an alert for the products they are interested in within their area, which they can then collect from a store or warehouse.
Following research conducted with Neighbourly’s food charity partners, which discovered that the majority would like to receive non-food donations, such as toiletries, cleaning and laundry products, furniture and kitchen equipment, the community app decided to expand its service, with M&S being the first retail partner to sign up to the expanded scheme.
M&S has worked in partnership with Neighbourly since 2015, donating the equivalent of 1.25 million meals to 595 food charities across the UK, and was the first major retailer to partner with Neighbourly, with Lidl following suit in February of this year.
The decision to provide surplus non-food products to charity is the latest step in the supermarket’s drive to increase its sustainability through its Plan A sustainability strategy, with the retailer beginning to roll out chilled food donations, including meat, dairy, poultry and prepared meals from all its stores nationwide, excluding M&S Simply Food stores, back in May.
Commenting on M&S’ latest commitment, Head of Responsible Sourcing at M&S Louise Nicholls said: “In addition to our regular surplus food donations, the donation of non-food items forms part of our overall Plan A aim to become a zero-waste business by 2025. Being able to maximise the reuse of non-food products is not only good for our business, but it is also good for the environment and for local communities by enabling them to focus their funds on their core activities.”
Neighbourly founder Nick Davies added: “Extending the Neighbourly platform from food to non-food is a huge and exciting step forward, not just for us, but for the charities we support, the retailers we work with and the communities in which they operate.
“The ability to redistribute unwanted but still useful surplus items will contribute to the reduction of raw material consumption, landfill use and CO2 levels, and of course is extremely beneficial to the work of charities and community groups.”
To find out more about Neighbourly, you can visit the social platform’s website.