Tesco to work with suppliers to cut waste

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21 October 2013 | Gurjit Degun 

Tesco is to work with its suppliers to cut waste in its supply chain, after the supermarket discovered it generated 28,500 tonnes of food waste in its stores and distribution centres in the first six months of the year.

The food waste figures for the supermarket’s operations and supply chain found 68 per cent of all salad grown for bagged salads is wasted, with 35 per cent of the waste occurring in homes.

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.

“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.”

Bagged salad is one of 25 best-selling grocery products that Tesco has tracked through the supply chain to discover where food waste occurs. As a result, the retailer 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 at home.

The study also revealed that 40 per cent of apples are wasted with just over a quarter of the waste occurring in the home.

A quarter of grapes are wasted between the vine and the fruit bowl. In addition, a fifth of bananas - one in 10 bought by customers - ends up in the bin.

The findings have led Tesco to make changes to its own processes to cut food waste. ‘Display until’ dates are being removed from fresh fruit and vegetables, smaller cases are being used in store and 600 bakeries in larger stores have been rearranged to reduce the amount of bread on display, leading to improved stock control.

Earlier this month, WRAP, a waste prevention organisation, estimated there is 6.5 million tonnes of waste in the grocery supply chain with the majority of this being food and packaging. Its estimated value is £6.9 billion.

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