Tesco partners with supplier in Kenya to turn surplus food into free school lunches

Tesco and Flamingo, a global produce supplier, are working together to roll out a new scheme to turn surplus food from packhouses into soup to distribute free of charge to schools in Kenya.

The scheme launched in March as a pilot has now been rolled out to two schools in Naivasha, Kenya, and is currently feeding 2,000 children each day. Following positive feedback, it will shortly be rolled out to a wider area in Naivasha with the aim of feeding over 5,000 children daily by January 2020 with further plans to roll this out to Flamingo packhouses in Peru, Guatemala and Morocco.

The programme is based on Tesco’s UK-wide Community Food Connection (CFC), through which surplus food from Tesco stores is donated daily to local charities and community groups. To date over 77 million meals have been donated to more than 7,000 charity and community groups from Tesco stores and distribution centres. This is part of the retailer’s pledge that no good food goes to waste in Tesco.

In Naivasha, Flamingo have set up kitchens in their pack houses to make soups from surplus vegetables that are then donated free of charge to local schools. Surplus fine beans, baby corn, and broccoli that would have ended up as compost are used to create hot school meals. The idea for the soup was the brainchild of celebrity chef Kiran Jethwa and was developed with Kenyan parents, children and teachers.

This initiative is part of Tesco’s focus on reducing food waste and follows a partnership with Kenyan produce growers in 2016. Small steps such as no longer trimming green beans has led to a huge reduction in food waste at packhouse level and resulted in improved freshness meaning less waste in customers’ homes. Tesco has also widened the size specifications for produce and overhauled the ordering process to reduce waste and get products into store much quicker. 

Tesco CEO Dave Lewis, said:

“At Tesco we’re committed to ensuring no good food goes to waste and we’ve now donated over 77 million meals of surplus food to charities and community groups in the UK.  Tackling waste at farm and packhouse level is a big challenge and we’re pleased to be able to partner with Flamingo in Kenya to support them to reduce food waste and help turn their surplus food into school meals.”

Ian Michell, managing director of Flamingo Produce said:

“Inevitably we have some food waste in our pack houses and so we’re really pleased to be able to put this food to good use by making soup to donate to local schools. The feedback we’ve received from teachers, parents and children is really positive.”

Naivasha headteacher Rosalin Wafula from Maua school said:

“Many pupils might only have one meal a day so the soup has created a sense of equality, improved the children’s confidence and led to a reduction in absenteeism.”

Flamingo recently signed up to global food waste tackling initiative Champions 12.3 and will be publishing their first food waste data later this month.

Last week Tesco CEO Dave Lewis chaired the annual Champions 12.3 food waste conference in New York.  The group is dedicated to accelerating progress towards achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goal Target 12.3 to halve global food waste by 2030.



Notes to editors:

Champions 12.3

Tesco CEO Dave Lewis Chairs Champions 12.3 – a global coalition of around 30 executives from governments, businesses, international organisations, research institutions, and civil society dedicated to accelerating progress toward achieving SDG Target 12.3.

Champions offer three recommendations for leaders to achieve SDG Target 12.3 by 2030:

  • Target: Every country, major city and company involved in the food supply chain should endorse and adopt SDG Target 12.3.
  • Measure: Governments and companies should quantify their food loss and waste and publicly report this information
  • Act: Based on the insights from measurement, governments and companies should innovate and scale up adoption of policies and practices that reduce food loss and waste. 

*Tesco Community Food Collection

  • In 2015 Tesco launched the UK’s biggest food redistribution scheme, linking local charities and groups to our stores via an app. Charities and community groups can collect the food free of charge to turn into meals for those in need.
  • Tesco has donated 77m meals since 2012 from our stores (Community Food Connection) and Distribution Centres.
  • In 2013 Tesco became the first UK retailer to publish data for the levels of waste in our own operations, followed by our Irish and Central European businesses in 2017 and our wholesale business Booker last year. Data are published in Tesco’s Annual Report with external assurance provided by KPMG. Tesco is working on extending reporting to their Thai and Malaysian businesses.



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