Student-led food surplus supermarket wins global impact award

Monday, 13 January 2020

A University of Nottingham student-led social enterprise that saves and sells food which supermarkets would otherwise throw away has won a prestigious award from Universitas 21 (U21), a leading global network of universities.

Foodprint in Sneinton is the city’s first ‘social supermarket’ and surplus food redistribution network. It’s run by students from Enactus Nottingham – a not-for-profit organisation that supports student entrepreneurs.

Environmentally, since it started, the company has saved over 30 tonnes of food from being wasted, and the equivalent of 130,000 kg of CO2 emissions.

Now Foodprint has won a major Impact Award from Universitas 21 – a global body that works to improve student experience and share best practice in research and educational innovation. The RISE (Real Impact on Society and Environment) award opportunity is designed by U21 to showcase student-led projects and is inspired by the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

© Otto Mejia/Enactus UK

Student businesses from 16 student enterprises from U21 institutions all over the world competed for the prize. As winners of the Impact category, Foodprint will gain international exposure and a global network of expert mentors and supporters.

Foodprint opened in 2017 with support from Nottingham City Council and now has hundreds of regular customers, providing food to around 600 people every week through its wider delivery network. It is a social enterprise that saves food supermarkets would otherwise throw away but is still perfectly good to eat from going to landfill. It sells this food at greatly reduced prices in a store in Sneinton, ensuring everyone can afford high-quality, nutritious food.

© Otto Mejia/Enactus UK

Revenues from the shop subsidise its redistribution network which delivers surplus food to local homeless shelters, food banks, community projects and school breakfast clubs every week. Foodprint is also a valuable community hub, providing a social area, books, clothing and household items.

The store and redistribution network are operated on the ground by a large body of volunteers, many from the local community who receive training to help them into employment, and others from both of Nottingham's universities.

© Otto Mejia/Enactus UK

Foodprint’s Director, Chris Hyland, said: "Winning this prize is a huge honour, and reflects the enormous amount of work and passion put in by Foodprint members past and present, our amazing volunteers, local community partners and our customers. We're really excited to scale our environmental and social impact even further in 2020. We are dramatically increasing the amount of food we save from landfill and are soon to launch 'Foodprint on Wheels' to truly make high-quality affordable food accessible to all. We're sure RISE's support will be invaluable in helping make it a success!"

The University’s Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Global Engagement Robert Mokaya said: “We are extremely proud of our Enactus students and in this particular case those involved in Foodprint who have won this award in the face of fierce competition from other valuable projects globally. The prize is testament to the clear vision, ambition and sheer hard work of these young entrepreneurs who are making a real difference to thousands of people in Nottingham every year. Their efforts are a double win in terms of the impact on the environment and tackling food waste in a highly practical and effective way.”

A global panel of expert judges from the world of social entrepreneurship and innovation had the hard task of choosing the best teams from a selection of inspirational video pitches.  Mac Montana, Financial Analyst for the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, RISE Judge and Winner of U21 PwC Innovation Challenge 2018/19 said: “I was impressed with the quality and creativity in the submissions. Watching these pitch videos is enough to cement anyone's faith in the future of humanity!”

Professor Bairbre Redmond, Provost of U21 said: “The U21 RISE projects are truly inspiring and demonstrate both the ingenuity and the depth of concern that students in U21 universities have in making the world a better place. I loved watching these videos and seeing what is happening in social enterprise and innovation around the world.  My congratulations to all who took part and we look forward to supporting them to reach their goals.”

Story credits

For more information please contact Prof David Park in the Nottingham University Business School via email or Emma Rayner, Media Relations Manager for the Faculty of Arts on +44 (0)115 951 5793 or 07738 291242 or email

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Notes to editors:

The University of Nottingham is a research-intensive university with a proud heritage, consistently ranked among the world's top 100. Studying at the University of Nottingham is a life-changing experience and we pride ourselves on unlocking the potential of our 44,000 students - Nottingham was named both Sports and International University of the Year in the 2019 Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide, was awarded gold in the TEF 2017 and features in the top 25 of all three major UK rankings. We have a pioneering spirit, expressed in the vision of our founder Sir Jesse Boot, which has seen us lead the way in establishing campuses in China and Malaysia - part of a globally connected network of education, research and industrial engagement. We are ranked eighth for research power in the UK according to REF 2014. We have six beacons of research excellence helping to transform lives and change the world; we are also a major employer, proud of our Athena SWAN silver award, and a key industry partner- locally and globally.

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