FAQs

Want to know more about the Community Grocery? Take a look at these commonly asked questions below.

Food

Is all the food donated?

We rely on donations, but as the amount of food that is donated is much lower than the amount we distribute, we purchase a lot of food in bulk from manufacturers and distributors. It means we get the best price possible and can pass this saving onto our members.

It is safe to eat food passed it’s best before date?

Best Before dates are a guide about when food is at its absolute best until. After this date, it’s perfectly safe to eat the food and often it tastes just as good. We regularly check for quality, and never stock anything passed the ‘use-by’ date. The stock we have constantly changes, and we always have a mix of long-dated, short-dated and passed best before items.

Why do we distribute food passed its Best Before dates?

Every year in the UK, over 7 million tonnes of food is thrown away. A lot of which has passed it’s ‘best before’ date, but would still be perfectly good to eat. We’re passionate about helping the environment, which is why we redistribute surplus food to save food from going to waste. Redistributing surplus and short-dated stock also means we can access at them at discount pricing meaning we can pass the savings onto our members. By shopping at the Community Grocery you’re not only able to save on your weekly shopping budget, but also help play your part in protecting the environment too.

What’s on offer

What is included in a shop?

Community Groceries are stocked with fresh fruit and veg, shelf items, fridge and freezer items, bakery and non-food items. We have different sized shops, depending on your need.

Our standard shop sizes are:

Small Shop:  12 items for £5

Medium Shop: 18 items for £7.50

Large Shop: 24 items for £10

You can choose as many items as you need from across the store with each product limited to a maximum of four.

If you want a few more things than your shop size, items outside of our standard shop are priced at 50p each.

We also have ‘Little Extras’, where you can purchase individually priced items on top of your standard shop.

Is there a limit to how many items I can choose?

You are welcome to use the grocery just to pick up odd items or to complete your big weekly shop. Each item is limited to a maximum of four to make sure we have enough to share with everyone.

What does the ‘Count As’ section mean and how much am I saving?

‘Counts As’ are put on the premium items that are included in your standard shop, and mean that this item counts as more than one in your shop.

For example, if you got an item marked as ‘Counts as 2’ in a 12 point shop, you would have 10 items left to use in that shop.

Counts As means that we can give you savings on more premium items, and still allow you to include these in your standard shop, rather than buy them as a ‘Little Extra’.

‘Counts As’ items are colour coded so it’s easier to spot how many items they are worth.

What does the ‘Little Extras’ section mean?

Our ‘Little Extras’ are individually priced items you can choose to add to your standard shop.

What is the wrap-around support?

We offer courses and support to our members giving them opportunities to build stronger communities, develop new skills and meet new people. Mental heath groups, money management, Alpha, and healthy cooking classes are just some of our most popular courses. These courses are free to members and organised by our local partner churches.

How it works

How did the Community Grocery start?

Community Groceries first started as a response to the Covid lockdown in 2020, The Message Trust, in partnership with the local church, delivered 60,000 meals to families across Wythenshawe (Manchester). But as the lockdown lifted, the need wasn’t going away. We couldn’t stand by and do nothing. That’s when the idea for the Community Grocery was born, and we opened the flagship store in Sharston. Since then, we have opened stores right across the UK.

Find out more

Can anyone shop here?

Anyone who needs the extra support the Community Grocery offers, can sign up for a year’s membership without needing to show proof of their circumstances.

How do you sign up?

All our sign-ups are done in store by one of our team. Just visit your nearest Community Grocery whilst we are open and let us know it’s your first time. Our sign ups only take a few minutes and you don’t need to bring any documents with you.

How many times can you visit the grocery?

You can shop in the Community Grocery once a day, per member household.

Most of our groceries also run courses each day. You can use these as much as you’d like!

Why is there a £5 annual membership fee when signing up?

Only a very small percentage of items you find in the Community Grocery are donated. The majority of stock is purchased in bulk and we pass on the savings to our members. Also, like most charities, we still have costs of wages, utilities, transport, storage and equipment to cover, to ensure that we can continue offering support, the membership fee helps towards some of this.

 

But we never want the membership fee to be a reason someone doesn’t access to the Community Grocery. We always try to make sure we have funded membership available upon request.

If you would benefit from this, do speak to our team in store.

Is everything in the Community Grocery cheaper than in supermarkets?

Where possible we try to make each item cheaper than you can get anywhere else. There may be the odd item you can find for less, but as a whole shop it will work out cheaper than any major supermarket.

Do you accept card payments?

Yes, we accept both cash and card.

How does the Pay-It Forward scheme work?

Our Pay-It Forward scheme is for members who are unable to afford their shopping that week and need emergency support. These are funded locally, through donations, and are available behind the till in the form of a gift card, with a personal message of encouragement. If this is something that you need, please ask a member of the team and they will be able to help.

Are you a food bank?

No, we act as a bridge between food banks and supermarkets.

Get involved

Do you accept donations?

Yes, we rely on food and monetary donations, which all go towards stock and funds which help us run as a charity. Any donations big or small are greatly appreciated and can be given to us in the grocery or online at communitygrocery.org.uk/donate

How else can I get involved?

Courses – We’ve got lots of courses running in store. Head to your local Community Grocery and speak to one of the team to find out what’s happening and how to book your place. Alternatively, check out your local Community Grocery page.

Volunteer – Our amazing team of volunteers help make the Community Groceries run, and we’re always looking for more people to join us. Whether you have a couple of hours or a bit more time, we’d love to speak to you.

Donate food or money – we rely on donations to keep shelves stocked and doors open.

Visit the church – every Community Grocery is run in partnership with the local church, and they would love to see you on a Sunday. Ask the team for more details on where and when they meet.

Still have questions? Please head in store to speak to a member of the team or contact us at [email protected]