Community Shop opens the UK's first full-scale social supermarket in London, selling surplus food to people on income support for up to 70% less than high street prices. Ivor Bennett reports.
This time last week, all this would've been thrown away. Surplus food normal supermarkets can't sell. This shop in south London has given the products a new lease of life. The UK's first full-scale community supermarket, offering discounts of up to 70 percent. SOUNDBITE (English) IVOR BENNETT, REUTERS REPORTER, SAYING: "All this food comes from major retailers like Asda, Tesco and Marks and Spencer. They can't sell it because either the packaging's damaged or it's mislabelled. In some cases the defect is so small you can barely notice it. Take this yoghurt for example, the printing's misaligned by a matter of milimetres, but it means that in here it can sell for just 15 pence." The shop operates on a membership basis - limited to local residents receiving benefits. Natasha has just signed up. For her, it offers more than just a bargain. SOUNDBITE (English) NATASHA SIMPSON, CUSTOMER, SAYING: "We previously used the foodbank and decided it's the best option to come and see what they're offering. And what they offer is priceless. They offer you dignity and that is priceless." For many like Natasha, it's often a choice between eating and heating. Last week she went two days without gas after overspending on her weekly shop. It's estimated 3.5 million tonnes of food is wasted in the UK every year often at a cost to retailers. So why has this not happened before? SOUNDBITE (English) SARAH DUNWELL, DIRECTOR, COMPANY SHOP, SAYING: "The challenge is behind the scnes, the logistics of how you collect, of how you transport and safely store very large volumes of surplus food." The company behind it is planning to open 20 more stores acoss the country. With all profits reinvested along the same lines. The shop includes a cafe serving leftover food They also offer work placement support and debt advice to get customers back on track. Unlike other retailers, management hopes customers here won't need to come back.