UK & World News

  • 9 December 2013, 22:01

'Social' Supermarket Opens To Benefit Claimants

Britain's first 'social' supermarket has opened in Yorkshire where those on benefits can buy cut-price stock from major manufacturers that otherwise would have been thrown away.

Members of Community Shop can buy good-quality, branded goods for a fraction of the usual shelf price, such as a Warburtons loaf for just 20p, or a tin of Heinz beans for 29p.

If the scheme being piloted in the ex-mining community of Goldthorpe, near Barnsley, is successful, organisers plan to roll stores out across the country.

The products from major chains such as Asda, Marks & Spencer and Morrisons are fit for consumption and in-date, but may have been rejected for a number of reasons, such as a problem with the labelling, or as a result of over-stocking.

Explaining how it works, Sky's Gerard Tubb said: "You have to be a member, you have to be on means-tested benefits which obviously means that you don't have much money, and you can join.

"They are hoping they are going to have 500 members here initially."

Using the example of a loaf of bread, he added: "They have brought this from maybe the manufacturer, or from one of the primary suppliers because maybe they have got too much, maybe there's a problem with the labelling, maybe there's a problem with the distribution of it.

"Nothing wrong with the bread itself.

"They buy it for just a few pence, because otherwise the company is going to have to pay a lot of money in landfill tax to shove it in a hole in the ground.

"We have got lots of discount food stores and cheap supermarkets but this really is something different, particularly when you see the range of stuff and the prices."

One of the shop's first members Brian, who used to worked in mining, said he was attracted by the lower prices.

"It was a lot lower than the big supermarkets, so you are able to afford to buy more stuff and things you like, that at the supermarket would be a lot dearer," he said.

Social entrepreneur Sarah Dunwell said: "Our parent company, Company Shop, have a relationship with the manufacturers that means we can get access to large, large volumes of residual food that we can get to the people who need it the most.

"None of the manufacturers, none of the retailers, want to see food going in the bin. They have all been really supportive of this project.

"What they need is an outlet for large volumes of surplus food that's very unpredictable. We don't know what's going to be residual next week.

"We would like to have six of these in London early next year, and then we would like to roll out across the UK."

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