Food waste? Snow way! Indoor ski slope becomes the UK’s largest fridge to save surplus stock from being wasted

Amidst concerns that the UK is within days of running out of cold storage capacity, the UK’s longest indoor real-snow ski slope is being used as storage to save thousands of items of perfectly edible food from going to waste, ensuring it reaches the plates of the people who need it most.

Chill Factore in Manchester is normally a place to enjoy 180m of indoor skiing and snowboarding. After being forced to close because of lockdown, the slopes have now been put to a novel new use.

The initiative is an unlikely partnership between Chill Factore and Cold Chain Federation member Company Shop Group, the UK’s largest surplus food redistributor, and is part of ongoing efforts to tackle the challenges presented by the Covid-19 crisis. 

Unprecedented fluctuations in demand for stock, resulting from lockdown restrictions which have seen the closure of hundreds of thousands of restaurants, hotels, food businesses and high-street retail stores, are presenting challenges for the industry and supply chain. There is a pressing need for additional cold storage to give the flexibility required given volatile stock levels and uneven patterns of distribution.

The location of the storage space is ideal for Company Shop, as two of its superstores are nearby in St Helens and Middleton. The food will ultimately be sold in its member-only superstores, which are open to people working in the NHS, emergency services, food manufacturing, and other key workers – those working on the front line of the fight against Covid-19.

Shane Brennan, Chief Executive of the Cold Chain Federation, said:

“Company Shop is a truly innovative company with a can do attitude in everything they do. They have led the way in finding a sustainable solution to repurposing good food that would otherwise go to waste and now they have come up with a great way to put this facility to use.

“Of course we hope that Chill Factore can get back to its usual business as soon as possible but in the meantime their generous donation of space is going to make a real difference.”

Jane Marren, Managing Director of Company Shop Group said:

“Central to our offer at Company Shop Group is our ability to turn problems into potential.

“Chill Factore’s generous donation of storage space at its site is essential for ensuring that we can continue to support the industry to unlock the value in its surplus, and enables us to continue to keep our shelves stocked for the key workers and vulnerable families who rely on our support.”

Morwenna Angove, Chief Executive Officer of Chill Factore said:

“Throughout this unprecedented period, and with the temporary closure of our site, it has been really important to us that we do all we can to help the wider national effort.

“We are proud to be doing our bit by working in partnership with Company Shop Group, and of the fact that this food will ultimately be enjoyed by Company Shop members on the frontline of the fight against Covid-19.”

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