Company Shop is the UK’s largest redistributor of surplus food. We stop good food going to waste by rethinking, redefining and redistributing surplus. We do the hard work, to make redistribution simple for retailers, manufacturers and brands. That means protecting the brands our clients work hard to create, finding solutions to tricky surplus challenges, and adding economic, social and environmental value across the supply chain.
Company Shop was founded 40 years ago by our Chairman John Marren, and we are now the leader in food surplus redistribution. We take food from retailers, manufacturers and brands, all of which is perfectly good to eat, but for various reasons doesn’t reach supermarket shelves. This could be because of packaging errors, or forecasting issues. We now handle more than 30,000 tonnes of surplus stock from the food supply chain each year and ensure as much of this food as possible reaches people’s plates, rather than going to landfill or anaerobic digestion.
Company Shop provides a financial return to suppliers, rather than incurring a cost, as diversion to anaerobic digestion or landfill can do. This enables clients achieve positive environmental, economic and social impact.
Company Shop redistributes surplus through a national network of staff shops on food manufacturing sites and standalone stores, operated on a membership-only basis. Membership is open to those working in food manufacturing and the emergency services. Our membership policy helps protect our clients’ brands, as our shoppers are educated about how and why surpluses exist. Our model has won The Grocer Gold Award for Best Business Initiative in 2013, and was shortlisted for the BBC Radio 4 Food and Farming Awards and the Food and Drink Federation Awards in 2014.
Our Queen’s Award also recognises Community Shop, the UK’s first social supermarket established by Company Shop. Community Shop sells high-quality, low-cost surplus food to local members on income support who are motivated to make a positive change in their lives. They’re enrolled into courses on employability, financial skills and self-confidence. There are two Community Shop stores – the first in Goldthorpe, South Yorkshire opened in 2013, with the first full-scale store opening in Lambeth in December 2014. There are plans for another 20 across the country. Community Shop is already transforming lives while trying to tackle two of the UK’s biggest challenges – food waste and food poverty.
On winning The Queen’s Award, Company Shop’s founder and Chairman, John Marren said: “After 40 years of building partnerships across the food industry to tackle waste, it is fantastic to be recognised by Her Majesty The Queen for our contribution to sustainable development. Food waste once happened under the radar and today’s award shows it is becoming an increasingly important issue nationally.”
Company Shop Managing Director, Mark Game, added: “Doing business differently has always motivated us, and we put social and environmental considerations at the heart of every decision we make. We’re very excited to receive a Queen’s Award and hope this will raise further awareness of the solutions in place to avoid unnecessary waste and drive changes in behaviour.”