Tesco Launches New Food Waste Reduction Initiative
British grocery retailer Tesco has announced an new initiative to dramatically reduce the amount of food that goes to waste from its stores.
The Community Food Connection with FareShare FoodCloud scheme is being launched this week in 15 cities and regions across the UK, including Manchester, Birmingham, Southampton and Portsmouth.
In the coming months, the initiative will also be rolled out to Leeds, Leicester, Kent and the West Midlands.
Tesco has said the initiative will reach all large Tesco stores - over 800 - by the end of 2016, with all stores covered by the end of 2017.
Community Food Connection is powered by FareShare FoodCloud, an open platform that helps store colleagues and charities work together seamlessly.
According to Tesco, once the project is fully developed, other retailers could adopt FareShare FoodCloud to create an industry standard platform to make a difference to local charities and communities.
The scheme has already been piloted in fourteen Tesco stores over the past six months and has generated over 22 tonnes of food – the equivalent to 50,000 meals.
Tesco and FareShare are calling for 5,000 charities and community groups to join up and receive free surplus food through the scheme, as part of a huge nationwide charity recruitment drive.
The latest figures show 55,400 tonnes of food were thrown away at Tesco stores and distribution centres in the UK last year, of which around 30,000 tonnes could otherwise have been eaten.
Speaking on the waste reduction scheme, Dave Lewis, Tesco's chief executive, said, “We believe no food that could be eaten should be wasted – that's why we have committed that no surplus food should go waste from our stores."
He continued, “We know it's an issue our customers really care about, and wherever there's surplus food at Tesco stores, we're committed to donating it to local charities so we can help feed people in need."
He added that the retailer knows "the challenge is bigger than this". That's why Tesco made a farm to fork commitment to reduce food waste upstream with its suppliers and in its own operations and downstream in customers' own homes, he explained.
Lindsay Boswell, FareShare CEO said, “We are delighted to be offering our store-level solution in partnership with Tesco who are demonstrating real leadership in tackling food surplus.”
FareShare FoodCloud is a natural extension of our work together which has already provided nine million meals to help feed vulnerable people, she added.
“Our role as a trusted partner to the voluntary sector is really important to the charities and community groups we work with and we are excited to launch this new service with Tesco's support.”
Tesco publishes transparent data about food waste from its own operations with the next set of ata being published by Tesco in May.
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