Tesco fights war on waste with revamped food donation scheme

UK retail giant Tesco has announced it is donating a further 700,000 meals from its 10 distribution centres to charities in an attempt to reduce the amount of surplus food the company is producing.

Tesco already supplies to redistribution charity FairShare with surplus food from its ambient fresh distribution centres; and the charity will receive a one-off donation of one million meals from Tesco, on top of the original 700,000 meals.

FairShare’s CEO Lindsay Boswell said: “Over the last 12 months FareShare redistributed over 2,660 tonnes of food from Tesco – including food donated from the twice yearly Neighbourhood Food Collections – to over 2,100 charities across the UK. Our rewarding and longstanding partnership with Tesco means this latest donation will help us reach – and feed – even more vulnerable people.”

The surplus food, which includes tinned meat, cereals, canned fruit and vegetables will support organisations like women’s refuges, homeless shelters and children’s breakfast clubs. Tesco’s communication responsibility director, Rebecca Shelley believes that the donations will ‘support those that need it most’.

Since the launch of this partnership Tesco and its customers have donated 27.5 million meals to FareShare and foodbank charity The Trussell Trust.

In June this year, Tesco and FairShare strengthened its partnership by incorporating a FoodCloud app in the UK. The app limits the amount of food thrown away by Tesco stores by connecting the firm with local charities.

War on waste

The announcement comes in the aftermath of widespread criticism of the supermarket industry from viewers of the BBC One series Hugh’s War on Waste. The show saw TV chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall reveal that as much as 40% of farmers’ crops are being rejected by supermarkets because of aesthetics.

To combat this criticism, Tesco along with Marks & Spencer have strengthened nationwide food redistribution schemes, while other supermarkets have introduced initiatives that have seen the food sector as a whole reduce food waste by 20,000 tonnes over the past year.

Earlier this week, Tesco’s director of group corporate responsibility Josh Hardie claimed that ‘emotional drivers’ are one of the key elements companies need to unlock in order to promote and accelerate sustainable growth in the food sector.

Matt Mace

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