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Young entrepreneur wants to take 'affordable supermarkets' nationwide

When she's not writing, Claire Gillespie can most often be found wiping snotty noses, picking up Lego, taking photos of her cat or doing headstands.

Woman behind bargain food shops puts big-name supermarket to shame when it comes to reducing food waste

From SheKnows UK

A new type of shop has opened in the U.K., and it’s making your local pound shop seem over-priced. Thanks to a young entrepreneur, 25p food shops could be popping up in all towns whose food banks can’t keep up with demand.

More: One third of our food gets thrown out and it simply shouldn't happen

Charlotte Danks set up her first Bargain Brand Food outlet in her hometown of Newquay, Cornwall, last June and opened her second branch in St Austell’s Market House on Saturday.

As an affordable supermarket and alternative to food banks, virtually all of the items she sells are charged at 25p. The shops sell items such as fresh meat, dairy products, tinned foods, pet food and toiletries, which have been rejected by big-name supermarkets because they are nearing their sell-by date or have damaged packaging.

Amazed by the popularity of her fledgling business, Danks has no plans of stopping at two outlets — she wants to take it nationwide. And what makes this even more incredible is that she’s only 21.

"I’d love to see this spread all over the country, but at the minute I am focusing on Cornwall," she told She has also already opened a market stall in Pool, and next month will see a warehouse opening, followed by stores in Bodmin and Bude in the summer.

"It’s really taken off," said Danks. "I’ve had a lot of positive feedback; people come in often and thank me for helping them get through difficult times — which is very rewarding. I hope to continue doing this for the rest of my life, as long as I keep having customers regularly coming back, I should be able to expand, and I hope I can bring this to other struggling communities.

More: Homeless hostels and women's refuges to benefit from supermarket food waste

"Most of what we sell is stuff that’s coming up to it’s sell-by date, but that’s not the same as its expiry date. Everything is perfectly fine, but the supermarket has to get it off its shelves, and it would otherwise end up straight in landfill. We sell a mixture of things from tinned foods, to crisps, sweets, dried foods, fresh meat and dairy products, toiletries, hair dye, cat food — pretty much whatever I can get my hands on; it changes every week."

As well as providing those in need with the affordable food they need to feed their families, Danks is helping to reduce the huge amount of food wasted by supermarkets on a daily basis.

According to the Independent, U.K. retailers and wholesalers waste around 200,000 tonnes of food each year, and when their supply chains are factored in, this figure rises to over 4 million tonnes annually.

The U.K. creates more waste than any other country in the EU, dumping 14 million tonnes a year — twice as much food per capita as the EU average.

Some supermarkets are taking steps to reduce the amount of food they waste, such as Asda, whose "wonky veg boxes" have proved to be a huge success with customers.

But what Danks is doing is particularly commendable, and it puts those huge companies to shame. If this is what one 21-year-old woman is doing, surely they can do a bit more?

More: Charity gives free sanitary products to women who can't afford them

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