A scheme enabling Heart of England Co-operative Society shoppers to snap up cut-price bargains from the shelves and reduce food waste has been hailed a success in its first year.
Gander uses real-time technology to highlight yellow-sticker, reduced-to-clear food items on Society shelves nearest customers’ homes via a free mobile app.
Instead of the stickers being spotted by shoppers in-store at the time, the app has a potential reach of thousands in local communities, allowing customers to pop in and pick up a bargain, in turn cutting the amount of food being thrown away from the stores.
An added advantage is the personalised notification alerts to shoppers, ensuring they are among the first to know about reduced-price local stock.
The Society first launched the scheme in 2020 and has since seen a 22% reduction in reduced items wasted across the network. The best performer among the retailer’s network of 35 stores was Balsall Common.
Dan Warburton is the store manager for The Co-operative at Balsall Common.
He said: “Gander has proven extremely popular among our customers.
“We too have been delighted with its success. Not only does it bring savvy shoppers into our store every day as they snap up cut-price bargains from our shelves, but it is helping us to reduce the amount of food wasted, which as we know is an issue in the UK – not just socially and economically, but environmentally.”
He added: “Reduced items are always popular among our customers, but only of course when the right products are on the shelves at the right time and are seen by the right people.
“Gander brings together all of these things – allowing us to take our offering to customers wherever they may be, at the touch of a button. Through Gander we have a perfect platform to help us reach potentially thousands of people which over these past 12 months has effectively helped us to prevent a lot of the food waste that was happening before.”
Steve Browne, general manager of the Society’s Food Division, added: “Food waste is a real problem in the UK and the effects of this are far reaching.
“Firstly, by wasting the time, energy, money and water that has been invested in growing the food, harvesting the products, packaging the items and transporting them to the shelves have also gone to waste. And when unsold food is thrown away it is sent to landfill, to rot.
“This in turn produces methane which is far more harmful to the environment than carbon dioxide.
“Thankfully, reduced food deals have always proven popular in our stores. But part of their success is ensuring the right foods are on the shelves at the right time so they are seen by the right people.
“Now thanks to Gander, we are no longer reliant on timing for our scheme to be a success. Our customers can seek the best deals on some of their favourite foods all at the touch of a button!”
Gander is available for download via the Apple and Android app stores.