Tesco tackles food wasteEthical Business News & Features
Tesco has partnered with UK food redistribution charity FareShare and Irish social enterprise FoodCloud to trial a scheme that will send leftover food to people in need.
Tesco has already been working in different areas of the supply chain to tackle food waste, and this new scheme will mean it won’t need to throw away food that could otherwise be eaten.
Recently published figures reveal that 55,400 tonnes of food was thrown away at Tesco stores and distribution centres in the UK over the past year, of which around 30,000 tonnes were fit for consumption.
How it works
Using the ‘FareShare FoodCloud’ app, Tesco store managers will alert charities to the amount of surplus food they have at the end of each day. The charity will then confirm that it wants the food, pick it up free of charge from the store and turn it into meals for those in need.
Beneficiaries will come from the wide range of charities FareShare works with, including homeless hostels, women’s refuges and breakfast clubs for disadvantaged children.
The UK pilot
FoodCloud is supplying the technology and expertise developed for its scheme in Ireland, while FareShare brings its knowledge of the UK charity redistribution market and its experience of providing food to an increasing network of frontline organisations that offer hot meals and other support for people in food poverty.
The scheme is already in place at Tesco stores in Ireland, and will now be piloted in 10 Tesco stores around the UK. All charities will be supported by FareShare to ensure they are using this surplus food safely.
‘No one wants to throw away food which could otherwise be eaten. We don’t throw away much food in our own operations but even the 1% we do throw away amounts to 55,400 tonnes.
‘To reduce this amount even further, we’ll be working in partnership with FareShare FoodCloud to ensure any food left unsold in our stores at the end of each day is given to local charities.
‘This is potentially the biggest single step we’ve taken to cut food waste, and we hope it marks the start of eliminating the need to throw away edible food in our stores.’
Dave Lewis, Tesco CEO
Bread, fruit and veg
Tesco is the only supermarket to publish its own independently assessed food waste data. The latest publication showed that the amount of food thrown away had dipped from 56,580 tonnes in 2013/14 to 55,400 tonnes in 2014/15.
The food most commonly thrown away in Tesco stores is from the bakery, followed by fresh fruit and vegetables and convenience items like pre-packaged sandwiches and salads.
‘FareShare already has a long standing partnership with Tesco and the development of the FareShare FoodCloud is a natural evolution of this.
‘We understand that customers get angry when they see food being wasted in their local store. We do too and that is why we have spent 20 years developing our successful charity redistribution model.
‘Our partnership with Tesco means we are already able to access surplus food from their supply chain, Distribution Centres and dotcoms.’
Lindsay Boswell, FareShare CEO
Supermarkets and food waste
Across the food supply chain, around 1% of food waste occurs within supermarket operations. The rest is thrown away earlier in the chain – in suppliers’ fields and factories – or in customers’ own homes.
For over three years, Tesco has been working with FareShare to make food available from the Tesco supply chain, distribution centres and dotcom centres. This has seen four and a half million meals of surplus food donated to support nearly 2,000 charities and community groups across the UK.
‘FoodCloud has already been successful in connecting food outlets with charities in Ireland through our unique technological solution for surplus food redistribution.
‘Our work in Ireland means that over 300 charities have already benefited from using the platform. It has helped us create a robust model that we have translated for the UK market.
‘We are delighted to be working in partnership with both FareShare and Tesco so that we can bring our solution in to the UK to ensure that more charities can benefit. We are looking forward to the developments that will come about as a result of this trial.’
Iseult Ward, co-founder of FoodCloud
Tesco is working with its suppliers to cut food waste in the supply chain, and is helping customers to reduce the amount of food thrown away in their homes. Tesco ended Buy One Get One Free offers on fruit and vegetables in the UK in April 2014.
Tesco has also worked with the Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP) to include ‘Love Food Hate Waste’ hints and tips on the packaging of a number of fruit and vegetable products on sale.