Free food in Sidmouth as SAVE zero waste group expands

Volunteers collect surplus food from the Co-op. Picture: SAVE

Volunteers collect surplus food from the Co-op. Picture: SAVE - Credit: Archant

Surplus food from supermarkets is being given out free in Sidmouth, following the expansion of a community group fighting food waste.

The SAVE food hub volunteers collect surplus items from supermarkets and give the local food bank any supplies it can use, before sharing the rest with local residents.

Anyone can find out what is on offer by using the Olio app, and put in a request for the items they would like.

At the moment the volunteers give out the food from their homes on Tuesday evenings only, but the group want to make it a daily service with a distribution centre.

SAVE volunteer Rich Allen, who lives in Sidford, said: “We are currently looking for a base from where we can list food.

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“In time we will equip this with fridges and freezers stocked with free food saved from waste.

“People will be able to request as much frozen or chilled food as they can use, free.”

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The group also plan to set up a cycle delivery service, taking supplies to people who cannot get to the community larder.

SAVE are keen to emphasise that they are not a food bank, and the supplies are available to anyone who can use them.

Mr Allen said: “You’re not taking food from someone’s table nor making anyone go hungry. You’re saving good food, and the energy and water used to grow, manufacture and transport it is not being wasted. People say to me, ‘We don’t need it. We can afford to buy food’. What we say is, ‘If you care about people and the planet - can you afford to only buy food?’

“We are really pleased to see lots of people coming to pick up food they’ve requested. We hope the whole town will get behind this and help Sidmouth win the race to become Britain’s first near-zero food waste town.”

The SAVE food hub was set up in March, operating first in Seaton and then in Axminster. The group estimates it has saved around three tonnes of food from being wasted in the last four weeks.

Food available in Sidmouth is listed on the Olio app from around 8.15pm on Tuesdays.

Anyone who would like to volunteer with the group or could help in other ways is asked to email

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