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Social Supermarket Foodprint Won’t Let the Pandemic Stop Them from Tackling Food Waste and Serving the Community

3 June 20

Amid a global pandemic, it’s easy to forget that we’re still facing another world-wide crisis: climate change. While being eco-conscious can sometimes come with cost and inconvenience, Sneinton social enterprise Foodprint makes doing the right thing super easy, selling low-cost food that’s been saved from supermarket scrap heaps. We speak to physical marketing manager Izzy Corlett about how the shop is coping at the moment...

With stacking the shelves, serving customers and sorting out stock, supermarket workers have been key in keeping our shops running smoothly and helping create some level of normality. While big chains dominate the press, it can be easy to forget the smaller, local shops that are having to cope with challenges of their own. Foodprint is run by students from the University of Nottingham, who have been juggling keeping the shop functioning in the midst of their exams. 

“When COVID-19 was announced as a pandemic, our uni went online, and we had this mad rush where we were shifting business operations and working out how to run everything,” Izzy says. “We had a moral dilemma between helping out those in Sneinton – because it’s a low-income area, we have to make sure that we are providing food to those that needed it – and saving food waste, which is one of our main points of agenda, as well as keeping people safe.” 

There was no question as to whether they would stay open or not: “There was such a big demand for food that we had no other option but to keep running, keep getting food in and selling it on to those who needed accessible food.” One key change has been the way the shop functions: Instead of perusing the wares, you have to tell the volunteer manning the stall outside the door what you want, who then collects it from the shelves inside and brings it to you. 

All the profits from the shop then go to the redistribution of the food – something that is especially key during these times when people are struggling to afford food or get to the supermarkets themselves. Izzy continues: “We're supplying food to food banks, homeless shelters, and food parcel providers, which is impacting 850 people. We're also providing food parcels, reaching 51 people across two retirement villages.”

As the students are largely operating Foodprint from their homes at all different ends of the country, they are largely relying on volunteers to facilitate it all. Tasks undertaken by volunteers include unpacking the shop’s weekly delivery of surplus food on Friday, and serving customers when the store is open on Saturday. “We’ve been lucky to get loads of new volunteers recently,” Izzy says. “The Nottingham community and surrounding areas have really come together to help out the store.”

If you’ve got spare time on your hands and are thinking about becoming a volunteer yourself, there’s plenty of reasons to give it a go. Izzy concludes, “It's a great thing to be a part of, in terms of saving food waste and making food accessible to many people. The store itself is part of the community, which is really lovely too.” Next time you find yourself ambling in Sneinton on the weekend, why not pick up ingredients for your next few meals? After all, food that is tasty and sustainable is a recipe for success. 

Foodprint website

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