Page last updated at 15:54 GMT, Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Supermarkets donate to food bank

Sorting products at a food bank
The food bank sorts out products past their sell-by date

Supermarkets are donating food past its sell-by date to charity, following the official launch of a new food bank.

Re-plenish, based in Oxford, picks up ingredients which cannot be sold, but have not passed their use-by date.

Food banks are non-profit making organisations which distribute food to charities. It is thought to be the first time supermarkets have signed up.

Two supermarkets have so far joined the scheme which organisers hope to expand in the future.

Volunteers pick up supplies in the mornings and sort products at the charity's premises in Oxford.

The eventual ambition is collect food from every supermarket in the city
Robin Aitken, Re-plenish

'Big ambition'

The charity said it not only supported worthy causes but also helped to reduce waste.

Robin Aitken, of Re-plenish, said: "It has a dual advantage in getting decent food to people in need, saving on landfill and the cost of wasting good wholesome food."

The scheme has been running as a pilot since July, involving two supermarkets in Kidlington.

The charity said it had collected enough food to make 1,000 meals a week since it started.

The Food Standards Agency said it welcomed the new project in helping to cut the amount of produce thrown away.

Mr Aitken added: "The eventual ambition is collect food from every supermarket in the city.

"Ideally we would arrive at a point in a couple of years' time where no good food in Oxford is wasted by supermarkets, but it is all distributed to people in need. That's a big ambition, but a worthwhile thing to aim for."

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