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East of England Co-op wins prestigious national award for ground-breaking food waste scheme

Joint Chief Executive at the East of England Co-op, Roger Grosvenor – Copyright Anglia Picture Agency, www.angliapictureagency.co.uk

The East of England Co-op has won at The Grocer Gold Awards in recognition of its trailblazing food waste reduction initiative to sell products past their Best Before date.

Announced on Tuesday 12th June at the prestigious black tie event in London, the East of England Co-op team including Joint Chief Executive Roger Grosvenor, picked up the Waste Not Want Not Award for the ‘Co-op Guide to Dating’. The category recognises the most successful approaches made by retailers to reduce waste in their supply chain.

Launched in December 2017, the Co-op Guide to Dating scheme is the sale of products such as tinned goods and packets for a nominal 10p for up to a month past their Best Before, reducing food waste and keeping edible food in the food chain. As the first major retailer to sell products past their Best Before date, the scheme proved immediately popular with customers and caused waves in the industry.

Roger commented: “As an independent regional retailer up against some of the UK’s best known national supermarkets, we were extremely proud to accept this award. Receiving recognition from our industry is the latest in a string of successes for this scheme, which continues to flourish in stores. Reduced products fly off the shelves often within hours and we anticipate it will save at least 150,000 items from going to landfill in its first year.”

Held annually, the influential industry awards celebrate the highest standards and innovation in grocery retail. Judges said the Co-op Guide to Dating initiative is “truly pioneering” and one “for others to follow” and The Grocer described it as “brilliantly executed and hugely influential.”

The scheme has been so successful that the East of England Co-op has now rolled it out to include fresh produce, selling fruit, vegetables and bread for up to two days past its Best Before date, and cake for up to seven days, all for 10p.

Roger added: “We are continually exploring ways we can further reduce food waste and are currently investigating the feasibility of including frozen products in the scheme.”

The Grocer Gold Awards 2018 were hosted by renowned impressionist and comedian Rory Bremner at London’s Guildhall.

For more information about the Co-op Guide to Dating, please visit: www.eastofengland.coop/dating.