Working with suppliers to tackle food waste
A major part of our work in tackling food waste has been the way we source our food. We work with our farmers, growers and suppliers to reduce waste where it occurs. We're committed to doing this through responsible food sourcing, broadening our specifications so we can take more of the crop and better food processing
In September 2017 we announced partnership agreements with 24 of our largest food suppliers who will adopt the Sustainable Development Goal to halve food waste by 2030 (23 of Tesco’s largest suppliers will adopt the 2030 target for their global operations and one for their UK operations)
Managing Bumper Crops
At certain times of the year we have to manage bumper crops due to variable weather. Last year warmer weather led to a bumper strawberry crop ripening at the same time. To reduce waste, we sold extra-large boxes of strawberries at a cheaper price than usual. Our customers benefited from the bumper crop and we could take more from the grower.
We’re working hard to broaden our specifications. In 2016 we launched our Perfectly Imperfect range of ‘wonky’ fruit and vegetables. Allowing us to take much more of our suppliers crop, maximise the amount of produce we can sell in store & giving our customers great products at low prices.
Improving Food Processing
We're also improving food processing by connecting our growers with suppliers of fresh and frozen foods, providing a stable demand for produce that falls outside our specifications. For example; we help our potato grower, Branston, to supply our manufacturer, Samworths. These "wonky" potatoes are then used in our own brand mashed potato. This increases the amount of crop used and saves edible produce being ploughed back into the field
Helping our Farmers Redistribute to Charity
We introduced our top 20 suppliers to our charity partner Fareshare. They work to redistribute edible food to people in need. Many of these suppliers are now donating their surplus food directly to communities where they operate.
Advanced Forecasting and Ordering Systems Manage Waste
We’ve invested in advanced forecasting and ordering systems to manage waste effectively and are working on flexible ordering and not cancelling orders too late.
Through our partnerships with producers, we understand where their supply falls outside our specifications or demand
Agricultural Hubs Providing Insight
In Europe, South America and Africa we’ve set up agricultural hubs staffed by trained agronomists providing insight on levels and causes of farm waste.
Colleagues in our African Hub highlighted that our specifications for fine beans were resulting in waste on farms in Kenya. As a result we’ve widened our specification and stopped trimming the beans, meaning on average 15% of the bean will no longer go to waste.
Food waste hotline
Suppliers and growers now have access to an online food waste hotline to help make it easier for them to pinpoint ongoing food waste hotspots and work with the business to tackle them.