The initiative, which launched Friday as part of the larger campaign Help to Brighten A Million Christmases, will see all 1,400 branches of the supermarket labelling priority items such as cans of fish, meat or vegetables and non-perishable juices, as well as items needed by local food banks.
Customers can then place the items in a donation area after checkout.
The nationwide campaign was launched after a successful trial of the labels saw an increase in donations.
The expansion is part of the supermarket’s effort to increase food donations during the Christmas period as well as after - with the labels expected to remain in stores indefinitely.
During the holiday period, Sainsbury’s sister-store Argos will be accepting donating toys until December 16.
The goal, according to the press release, is to encourage one million food and toy donations in stores across the UK during the Christmas season.
To accomplish the goal, Sainsbury’s has built more than 2,100 food donation partnerships across its stores.
The initial campaign was started by a group of National Citizen Service graduates from Exeter who realised most customers notice donation bins after they’d done their shopping - meaning they do not end up donating.
By creating labels that inform customers of the items needed by food banks during their shopping, the number of donations tripled.
“We’re excited to be working together to expand Sainsbury’s food donation programme and to launch Argos’s toy donation programme,” said Claudine Blamey, Sainsbury’s head of corporate responsibility and sustainability. “We are committed to making a positive difference in local communities and we hope our customers get on board to help brighten the lives of those less fortunate in the community.”
Mark Richardson, manager of Exeter foodbank, added: “The results of this initiative just goes to show that sometimes you just need a new mind on an old problem, sometimes the most simple ideas have the greatest impact.”
The permanent initiative will be the largest of its kind in the UK, according to The Guardian.
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