Asda is restoring permanent food banks to its stores just one week after scrapping them amid a review of its community programme.
The permanent, unmanned collection points were removed earlier this month in a move designed to make Asda’s practices “fair and consistent” for all the charities it supports.
The grocer said that customers “didn’t necessarily know who their donations were for and where they were going” when they gave to food banks.
Walmart-owned Asda said the review, which also resulted in the supermarket giant calling time on its green token initiative, would result in an extra £2m being invested “into local good causes” via the Asda Foundation.
The retailer added that the charities were still welcome in its stores and insisted that having volunteers on hand to talk to customers “maximises donations charities are getting” from shoppers, rather than relying on the unmanned food banks.
But the move to axe the collection points received criticism from MPs and charities, while around 88,000 people signed a petition against the move – a backlash that has now sparked a U-turn from the embattled grocer.
An Asda spokeswoman said: “As a retailer who is committed to supporting our local communities we never intended to stop food banks or similar local charities collecting in our stores.
“We made some changes to our community programme around unmanned collections in the belief that this would benefit the many local good causes who collect in our stores.
“On this occasion our customers and colleagues have told us they understand our intentions, but prefer us to continue to give charities more options to maximise donations.
“We are therefore reinstating unmanned collection points.
“Asda plays an important role in the communities we serve and we look forward to continuing to support many more local charities and good causes.”