Tesco and suppliers cut 200,000 tonnes of food waste from operations

Tesco has worked in partnership with its suppliers to cut 200,000 tonnes of food waste from their combined operations, the supermarket will reveal today. This comes as Tesco published its own food waste data for the eighth year and challenges other retailers and food companies to do the same.

Tesco has reached this important milestone by working closely with 71 of its largest suppliers around the world, all of whom are also making their food waste data public today. Tesco helped its own-label suppliers to cut 125,000 tonnes of food waste over three years and worked in partnership with 11 of the world’s biggest household brands – including Coca-Cola, Kellogg’s, Nestlé and Unilever – as they cut a further 30,000 tonnes from their operations.

The supermarket will also announce that it has cut 45,000 tonnes from its global operations since it began reporting and has now exceeded the United Nation’s SDG 12.3 goal of halving food waste by 2030 in its Central European operation by cutting 58% of its food waste intensity.

The combined effects of climate change and Covid-19 have made tackling food waste more urgent than ever, according to Tesco and members of global coalition, Champions 12.3. The coalition will warn that food waste accounts for 8% of all global greenhouse gas emissions and that unless we act now, we will fatally undermine our ability to tackle the climate emergency. Meanwhile, COVID-19 has exposed weaknesses in the global food system, driving up food waste, impacting farmer incomes and increasing the number of people who go to bed hungry.

Tesco CEO, and Chair of Champions 12.3, Dave Lewis said:

“One third of the world’s food is going to waste, while one in nine people go hungry. If food loss and waste were a country, it would be the third largest emitter of greenhouse gases on the planet. In order to halve global food waste by 2030, more must be done with more urgency than ever before.

Significant progress is being made. The UK has cut its food waste by 27% since 2007 and hundreds of companies, including many of our own suppliers, are doing their part too. But there is still more to do. We need even more companies to set food waste reduction targets and publish their data.”

“We are also asking the UK government, and its counterparts around the world, to embed food loss and waste reduction into post-Covid plans to bolster supply chains, as well as strategies to meet commitments to the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.”

Breakdown of Tesco supplier reporting:

  • 12 own-brand suppliers from the Republic of Ireland, representing a third one fresh food sales, and 5 Central European suppliers have reported their food waste for the first time this year
  • 15 of Tesco’s global growers have also reported for their pack houses for the first time this year and all have committed to extend their reporting to include on-farm operations in 2021
  • 28 own-label suppliers, representing over half of UK fresh food sales, reported for the third year running, and 11 branded suppliers reported for the second year running
  • Find out more about Tesco’s Own Branded and Branded suppliers' food waste data here


Notes to Editors:

Tesco CEO Dave Lewis Chairs Champions 12.3, a coalition of leaders across government, business and civil society dedicated to inspiring ambition, mobilising action, and accelerating progress toward achieving Target 12.3 of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. Target 12.3 calls on the world to “halve per capita global food waste at the retail and consumer levels and reduce food losses along production and supply chains, including post-harvest losses” by 2030.

At Tesco we have no time for waste and it’s an issue we have been focused on for over a decade, some of our key commitments from this time are outlined below.

  • In the UK we have sent no food waste to landfill since 2009
  • In 2013 we became the first UK retailer to publish data for the waste in our own operations
  • Stopped running any “Buy One, Get One Free” promotions on fruit and veg in April 2014
  • We have made a straightforward commitment that where we have unsold food that is safe for human consumption – none of this should go to waste in our UK retail operations
  • In 2016 we launched Community Food Connection in partnership with food redistribution charity FareShare and social enterprise FoodCloud
  • Since 2012 we have donated over 100m meals to thousands of local charities and community groups
  • In 2018 we removed ‘Best Before’ dates from over 180 fruit and vegetable lines
  • In 2019/20 we reached 77% towards our goal that no food safe for human consumption will go to waste in our UK operations

We know that working in partnership with suppliers is key to tackling food waste. Our overall approach has always been to make as much use of the edible crop as possible. For instance, our Farm Brands and Perfectly Imperfect ranges allow us to capture parts of the crop which previously fell outside our specifications. We are also making links between our growers and our fresh and frozen suppliers so no good food goes to waste.


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