Supermarket for the poorest to open in South Yorkshire

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Britain’s cheapest supermarket is to open in South Yorkshire next month - stocked with cut-price food other stores have thrown out.

The UK’s first ‘social supermarket’ expects its prices to be a third of those found on normal shop shelves.

Stock will come from shops such as Marks and Spencer, Morrisons and Ocado.

But shoppers will have to have membership cards, issued only to families below a certain income threshold.

More than 1,000 similar stores in Spain and Greece have opened during the recession. Twenty more are planned for the UK next year, six in London.

They are seen as a way of restoring dignity to people who are at present having to rely on hand-outs from food banks.

Sarah Dunwell, who is masterminding the project in Barnsley, said the shop would not be stocked with basic ‘austerity’ lines.

“We’ll have staples such as sugar, pasta and rice but also more expensive goods such as French cheeses, ready-made lasagne and desserts and household products,” she said. “This is not cheap food for the poor, rather it will bring a huge range of foods to people on the cusp of poverty.

“It takes stuff that will not make it to supermarket shelves and uses it to feed people who need it most.”

Many items thrown away are not past sell-by dates - Sarah said cheeses with the wrong weights couldn’t go on sale, nor chocolate mousses mispackaged with lemon mousse lids.

“While we have people in the UK going hungry it is wrong such foods should be thrown away,” she added.

Leaflets publicising the scheme have already been delivered to homes in Goldthorpe, which is being targeted as an area of serious poverty.

Five hundred families will be selected to join the scheme for six months.

The concept is believed to have been slow to take off in Britain as big supermarkets have been embarrassed about how much food they throw away every day.