Belfast Telegraph

Monday 1 September 2014

Tesco's efforts to cut food waste

Tesco is to end multi-buys on large bags of salad in a bid to help customers reduce food waste

Tesco is dropping some food promotions after finding that two-thirds of produce grown for bagged salad is wasted.

The supermarket giant has revealed food waste figures for its operations for the first time, revealing that 68% of salad to be sold in bags is thrown out - 35% of it in the home.

As a result of the findings, it is to end 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.

It is also removing 'display until' dates from fresh fruit and vegetables, using smaller cases in stores and rearranging 600 in-store bakeries to reduce the amount of bread on display, with the aim of better stock control and less waste.

The retailer found that 40% of apples are wasted, as are just under half of bakery items.

A quarter of grapes are wasted between the vine and the fruit bowl and a fifth of all bananas are unused - with customers throwing one in 10 in the bin.

Tesco said it was involved in trials with apple growers to reduce pests and disease and will provide simple tips to customers about storing the fruit after finding that more than a quarter of wastage happens at home.

It will also share tips with customers about how to use leftover bread, and is working with grape and banana suppliers to improve delivery times and conditions.

The supermarket tracked 25 best-selling products and combined information with data from the Waste and Resources Action Programme (Wrap) to give an overall food waste "footprint" for each item.

The data shows that in the first six months of this year, 28,500 tonnes of food waste were generated in Tesco's stores and distribution centres.

The last figures published by Wrap in 2011 estimate that 15 million tonnes of food waste is generated each year in the UK.

Tesco commercial director of group food Matt Simister 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 vegetables 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.

"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."

Wrap director Richard Swannell 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."

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