man in black t-shirt holding coca cola bottle
Photo by Joel Muniz on Unsplash

Today’s inflation figures are another blow to those at the sharp end of the cost-of living crisis – with inflation at over 10% and food price inflation running at over 19%.

Simply put, it is not good enough that in one of the richest countries in the world,  rising food prices are forcing people to go hungry. It took the efforts of Marcus Rashford to encourage the Government to adopt most of the recommendations of their own National Food Strategy. It’s perhaps not much of a shock that the author of the Report, the Government’s so-called Food Tzar, has subsequently resigned, leaving the Government rudderless on this important agenda.

In the face of this, co-operators are putting in place practical measures to help people deal with the rising costs and in particular food.

The Co-op Group has created an important partnership with Your Local Pantries, which operate in over 80 neighbourhoods across the UK, helping around 90,000 people. Pantries have a defined geographical area and local residents can become members who pay a small amount each week and in return choose at least ten items of food or groceries worth many times more. Pantries are laid out like shops, and members choose their own items.

Community Fridges are a similarly community-orientated solution. Fridges are run by community groups in shared spaces such as schools, community centres and shops. Their main purpose is to save fresh food from going to waste.

The Community Fridge Network is coordinated by Hubbub, who provides a support network for groups running fridges to share knowledge and skills and to ask questions. There are currently over 300 fridges across the UK and counting, and Hubbub has partnered with Co-op to fund 500 fridges by the end of 2023.

Many co-operators are supporting their local pantry or community fridge to tackle this need in the face of rising costs. If you haven’t yet, then find your nearest one and get involved.