Ethical Performance
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Tesco takes on waste revealing 68% of bagged salad gets binned

November 2013

British supermarket giant Tesco has become the first major UK retailer to publish its own food waste figures.

Its figures show that 68% of bagged salad is wasted as is 40% of apples. Just under half of bakery items are wasted while a quarter of grapes are wasted between the vine and the fruit bowl and one in 10 bananas purchased end up in the bin.

As a result of its operations and supply chain data collation, the chain is introducing a series of initiatives to help stop this waste. For example, Tesco is involved in trials with apple growers to reduce pests and disease, as well as giving customers tips on how to store apples to help them last longer and the chain has changed how bakeries are run in over 600 stores to minimise waste and is sharing tips about how to use leftover bread.

With regards to bagged salad, Tesco is ending multi-buys on large bags of salad and is developing mix-and-match promotions for smaller bags in a bid to help customers reduce the amount they are wasting.

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.

“We’re playing our part too and making changes to our processes and in store. Ending multi-buy promotions on large packs of bagged salads is one way we can help, but this is just the start and we’ll be reviewing what else we can do. We’re working with our suppliers to try to cut waste at all stages of the journey from farm to fork.”

Richard Swannell, director of Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) said: “We welcome Tesco’s approach to tackling food waste across their whole supply chain, and by identifying the hot spots, they can tackle these areas effectively. Food waste is a global issue and collaborative action is essential if we are to successfully reduce food waste and reap the financial and environmental benefits of doing so.”

The new food waste figures come as Tesco becomes the first major UK retailer to reveal the levels of food waste across its entire UK operations. The data reveals that in the first six months of this year 28,500 tonnes of food waste were generated in stores and distribution centres. The last figures published by WRAP in 2011 estimated that 15 million tonnes of food waste is generated per year in the UK.

Tesco is using the data to make changes to its own processes and cut food waste. ‘Display until’ dates are being removed from fresh fruit and vegetables, smaller cases are being used in store and 600 in-store bakeries have been rearranged to reduce the amount of bread on display, leading to better stock control and less waste. 

UK & NI Ireland |

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