Tesco takes another step to reduce food waste through action with suppliers

Matt Simister
Matt Simister
CEO Central Europe

Back in 2013 we announced our ambition to lead in reducing global food waste and made clear our responsibility to tackle the issue not just in our own operations, but wherever it occurs – from the farm to our customers’ homes. We have introduced a number of initiatives that, combined, we believe will make a big difference.

You may have seen news about one of these initiatives; the Community Food Connection, which launched last week as Tesco committed to ensuring no food that can be eaten will go to waste from stores.  However, I also wanted to share another bit of news with you from last week which shows our commitment to reducing food waste from farm to fork.  We have worked with our suppliers to develop our new Perfectly Imperfect range. The new range means vegetables that may have been wasted on farms will now be on offer to our customers at low prices.

Programmes by Jamie Oliver and Hugh-Fearnley Whittingstall, among others, have helped highlight how food gets wasted throughout the supply chain – and how vegetables that may not be perfect on the eye, but are just as good to eat, can end up going to waste.

The interest in wonky veg is good news for our customers, good news for suppliers and great news in the fight against food waste.

Our new Perfectly Imperfect range will begin with potatoes and parsnips and we plan to add a number of other fruit and vegetables over the course of the year. I’m delighted to say the range is grown on British farms and will be available in 250 of our large stores.

Our overall approach has always been to make as much use of the edible crop as possible and we’ve included produce of different shapes and sizes in our Everyday Value range for many years. We’ve also been working in partnership with our farmers, growers and producers to stop good food being thrown away in other ways. The main way in which we manage products which fall outside our specifications is through food manufacturing. We are helping to create strong and stable demand for products like these by linking our growers with our ready meal and frozen food suppliers – for example, we are supporting our potatoes supplier, Branston, to supply one of our manufacturers, Samworths, who make mashed potato – creating jobs and helping to reduce food waste.

We hope our Perfectly Imperfect range will be another little help that makes a big difference.

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