ALDI’S Reading stores are now donating surplus food directly to local groups that redistribute supplies to vulnerable people in the area.

Supplies will be sent to local groups taking part including food bank ReadiFood and NishkamSWAT, a Sikh group that provides support to people of all backgrounds in disadvantaged communities.

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The new partnerships follow on from a successful trial between the supermarket and community engagement platform, Neighbourly.

Aldi has paired up seven stores in Berkshire with local good causes that are now collecting surplus food up to five days a week.

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Each store is donating perishable items such as fresh fruit and veg, long life items and baked goods.

The trial began in January 2019, and following its success, was rolled out across Aldi’s entire store estate.

Last year the supermarket donated two million meals to charity and expects to increase this by 50 per cent now the trial has been extended to its more than 830 stores.

Fritz Walleczek, managing director of Corporate Responsibility at Aldi UK and Ireland, said: “We’re always looking for new and creative ways to increase the amount of food we are able to donate.

“This partnership is enabling us to distribute even more surplus stock, while supporting a vast range of good causes, across the South East.

“Our aim is for fresh, healthy food to be accessible for everyone, and Neighbourly are helping us to extend this commitment beyond our affordable range of fresh products.”

Aldi has worked with Fareshare and Company Shop since 2012 and is now also partnering with Neighbourly to explore the benefits of more direct relationships within the communities its stores serve.

Steve Butterworth, Neighbourly CEO said: "We are delighted to be partnering with Aldi on this programme and to help them realise their ambition to benefit those communities local to each and every one of their stores across the UK.

“Food surplus is a challenge Aldi is committed to playing its part to address.

“This approach is critical to ensure surplus food finds its way easily to the good causes supporting those communities that need it most."

Aldi has not sent any waste to landfill since 2014, and has also pledged to reduce operational food waste by 50% by 2030 as part of the Friends of Champions 12.3 network.

Any local charities in Reading looking to partner up with an Aldi store should email to apply.