Tesco rolls out ‘FoodCloud’ waste donation scheme

Tesco has commenced a national roll-out of a comprehensive and innovative online 'FoodCloud' platform that redirects surplus food from stores to provide millions of meals to local charities and community groups across the country.

In partnership with UK food redistribution charity FareShare and social enterprise platform FoodCloud, 124 Tesco stores across the UK will upload stock information on unsold, surplus food onto an online platform. Charities will then be notified and can collect the food for reuse free of charge.

FareShare’s chief executive Lindsay Boswell said: “We are excited to be launching our store-level solution with Tesco who are demonstrating real leadership and commitment to tackling food waste. FareShare FoodCloud is an expansion of our wider work redistributing good quality surplus food to charities and community groups.” 

The nationwide rollout follows on from successful trials between the retailer and the charity last year, which previously saw 14 Tesco stores use the FoodCloud in partnership with nearby charities. So far nine million meals have been created for more than 2,200 charities as part of the programme.

FareShare believes that the strengthened commitment will allow more than 5,000 extra charities and community groups to collaborate through the platform, to produce free meals and reduce food waste. The charity is developing the programme with the expectation that more major retailers will sign onto the scheme.

Supply chain focus

Despite the increased efforts to reduce store-produced food waste – with awareness raised through the popularity of TV chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s recent War on Waste BBC series – there are still concerns over a general lack of commitment to tackle food waste further down the supply chain.

Echoing FareShare director Mark Varney’s calls for campaigners to shift the waste agenda to the supply chains, leading online food grocer Approved Foods is this week urging authorities not to ignore “epic issues in the supply chain” that are leading to “significant and preventable waste”.

Approved Foods – which is attempting to re-educate the public on food wast, by selling and promoting food near or past its display-by date – has praised the move by Tesco to work with food redistribution charities, but has likened the move to “treating the symptoms, but not the cause” of the problem.

Approved Foods founder Dan Cluderay said: “This is a massive step forward in the fight on food waste, and we are delighted that Tesco has taken such a bold move. In doing so they are setting an example and we are hopeful that other supermarkets will now follow suit.

“That said, it is imperative at this time that we don’t see this as ‘job done’. Whilst giving all unsold food to charity solves the issue of overflowing retailer skips it does nothing to address the issue of products that never even reach the shelves.”

With a recent Approved Food survey revealing that seven million people in the UK incorrectly throw out perfectly edible food, the organisation believes that a failure to address behaviour change and supply chain processes could derail recent commitments to tackle food waste, such as the bold pledge made by Scotland earlier this year.

Matt Mace

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