Company shop

Closing the loop


The UK food industry wastes around three-and-a-half million tonnes of food every year. Barnsley-based Company Shop estimates that 10% of this is fit for human consumption and has devised a way to put that food to good use, while building an incredibly successful business along the way.

The family-owned company prevents food from going to landfill by redirecting it to stores and an online service. The food is then sold at a discount to members, who are mostly drawn from the food industry or emergency services.

“We stop good food going to waste, while delivering positive social, environmental and economic impacts for the retailers, manufacturers and brands we work with,” says John Marren, Founder and Chairman of Company Shop. “In the last year alone, we redistributed more than 30,000 tonnes of food. We’re aiming to double the volume of stock we handle within the next three to five years.”

  • 10% of UK food industry waste is fit for consumption, according to Company Shop

The ethical merchant has developed close relationships with food retailers and manufacturers. “Because our partners have confidence that we will handle their brands as if they are our own, we have been able to secure endorsement from across the industry and recognition from our peers,” says John.

Company Shop has actually benefited from the tough economic conditions that have put the food industry under closer scrutiny. “In 2013, we generated an annual turnover of £28m, an increase of 30% in sales on 2012,” says John. “Despite the majority of profits being reinvested into the business infrastructure to gear for further growth, we still returned a gross profit.”