Iceland is giving away end-of-shelf-life food for free to reduce waste

·2-min read
 (Getty Images/iStockphoto)
(Getty Images/iStockphoto)

In a new effort to reduce food waste, Iceland is giving away food on the last day of its shelf life away for free to customers who shop online.

The supermarket said it expects the new scheme, called “Free on Last Day of Life”, to provide customers with 1.3 million free products a year, equivalent to £500,000 in retail value.

The initiative, which began this week, will allow online customers to add items close to their sell-by-date to their basket and have the price of those items reimbursed.

Chilled or fresh products, cakes, bread, and morning goods are all included in the scheme. Previously, food ordered online for delivery from Iceland had a shelf life of at least two days.

Now, if an online customer orders an item that has a day or less left on its sell-by date, it will be scanned through and delivered as usual, but customers will be notified of this before delivery.

The cost of any such item will be deducted from the customer’s total bill.

Iceland trialled the initiative in 40 stores before rolling it out nationwide. During the trial, customers received more than 17,000 products for free, as well as an average refund of £1.58 per order.

Richard Walker, managing director of Iceland Foods, said: “Reducing food waste is a huge priority for us as we continue to reduce our impact on the environment.

“We know that shelf life plays a big role in the creation of surplus food so we have to find an innovative way to combat the within our stores and via our online shopping.

“Our Free on Last Day of Life scheme not only helps reduce food waste but also supports our customers,” he added.

“We know cost is key to many of our shoppers and this new initiative allows us to offer them the opportunity to reduce their weekly shopping bills, as well as helping to reduce food waste.”

According to food waste charity WRAP, the UK produced around 9.5 million tonnes of food waste in 2018, contributed by households, hospitality and food service, food manufacture, retail and wholesale sectors.

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