Reducing food waste

Food waste

Why it matters

Our food system is coming under increasing pressure and there are already significant concerns around global food security.

Find out why it matters

Our approach

Developing a core programme to tackle food waste in our own operations and with our suppliers and customers.

Find out about our approach


25 food waste hotspots

Shopping basket illustration

Where food is wasted

Around a third of all food grown worldwide may be lost or wasted across the value chain – most notably in agriculture, in the supply chain and with customers. This breakdown will vary by market with greater agricultural and supply chain losses in

middle and lower income countries. The infographic illustrates where food waste occurs in the value chain for goods produced for and consumed in the UK.

Total waste along the value chain - 32%: Agriculture and supply chain - 16%, Retailer - less than 1%, consumer - 16%

Source: WRAP UK, 2014 data. Percentages denote amounts of food wasted as a proportion of that produced for UK consumption.


Agriculture and supply chain

Food losses can occur on farm and in the supply chain for a variety of reasons including weather, disease and pests, problems during storage and changes to product orders. We are committed to working closely with our producers and suppliers to help identify causes of waste and find ways to prevent this happening.



We run a number of initiatives in our own operations to stop food going to waste such as reducing the cost of products close to their sell by date. We make sure that any surplus food is well managed and send as much as possible to charities helping those in need. We are now in the process of rolling out our best practice in the UK to the rest of the Tesco Group.



Recent research has shown that half of Tesco customers throw away food because they are unaware it has passed its expiry date. One third of customers told us they regularly cook more than they mean to and a quarter admit they struggle with how to use up leftovers. We are committed to finding ways helping our customers to reduce food waste in the home and save money in the process.


56,580 tonnes of food were wasted in Tesco stores and distribution centres in 2013/14.

Find out more about how we measure our food waste

At a glance

  • ​We are the only UK retailer to publish data about food waste from our own operations.
  • We have worked with WRAP to introduce ‘Love Food Hate Waste’ hints and tips on the packaging of a number of our fruit and vegetable products in the UK.
  • To address customer concerns that some promotions encourage more food waste, we ended Buy One Get One Free offers on fruit and vegetables in the UK in April 2014.
  • We have introduced a series of food surplus donation programmes across our international operating markets, including Poland, Thailand and South Korea. In the UK we have donated 2.3 million meals to FareShare since September 2012.
  • We are working with suppliers to ensure that we minimise waste on the farm, for example we find ways to make use of our banana suppliers’ entire crop, regardless of whether the bananas are small or unusually shaped. ​

To read our top ten food waste innovations from the last year click here.