Wednesday 26th October 2016                 Change text size:

Tesco unveils extent of grocery food waste

Danny Nicholson via flickr

Tesco has tracked its 25 bestselling products from farm to fork and found that a large amount is thrown away – especially in the home – with 28,500 tonnes of its food discarded prematurely in the first six months of 2013.

The supermarket chain says its total food waste figures reveal that 68% of bagged salads goes to waste – with 35% of it happening at the consumption stage.

It also said that 40% of apples are thrown away, as well as under half of bakery products, a quarter of grapes and a fifth of all bananas.

Matt Simister, Tesco commercial director of group food, said, “We’ve all got a responsibility to tackle food waste and there is no quick-fix single solution.

“Little changes can make a big difference, like storing fruit and veg in the right way. Families are wasting an estimated £700 a year and we want to help them keep that money in their pockets, rather than throwing it in the bin.”

Tesco has committed to improving communication with its customers, in order to to advise them on how to prevent food waste. Suggested measures include explaining more efficient storage methods or alternate ways to use leftover bread.

It is also considering reducing the size of bagged salads, as well as working with producers and farmers in order to shorten the time needed to get from the field to the store, to ensure that products last as long as possible.

Tesco pledged in May to take the lead in tackling food waste, by changing the way it encourages people to buy large food bargains with short shelf lives.

Tristram Stuart, founder of the Feeding the 5000 campaign, said, “Today’s announcement is a first step in the right direction but it should be only the beginning.

“We need much more transparency and harmonised, granular data on retailers’ supply chain food waste from farm to fork – where food is wasted, what type of food it is and what state it is in. This will allow governments, social entrepreneurs and innovators to put in place the solutions needed to tackle food waste at scale.”

Further reading:

Tesco to take ‘leading role’ in reducing food waste

Tesco to reduce food waste with new packaging

World wasting up to half of global food

Up to 40% of food wasted because of ‘ugliness’

Tackle food waste to tackle inequality, government report says

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