Ground breaking new scheme sees unsold Tesco food go to people in need

4 Jun 2015

Brand new scheme called FareShare FoodCloud to be piloted in Tesco stores to give unsold food to charities and not to waste

  • Brand new scheme called FareShare FoodCloud to be piloted in Tesco stores to give unsold food to charities and not to waste
  • New figures reveal 55,400 tonnes of food wasted within Tesco operations in the last year, around 30,000 tonnes of which could otherwise have been eaten

A groundbreaking new scheme has been launched to redistribute surplus food from Tesco stores to people in need.

Tesco has partnered with UK food redistribution charity FareShare and Irish social enterprise FoodCloud to trial the FareShare FoodCloud app in the UK. Tesco has already been working in different areas of the supply chain to tackle food waste - including through its existing partnership with FareShare - and this new scheme will mean eliminating the need to throw away food in Tesco stores that could otherwise be eaten.

Using the FareShare FoodCloud app, Tesco store managers will alert charities to the amount of surplus food they have at the end of each day. The charity then confirms it wants the food, picks it up free of charge from the store and turns it into meals for those in need. Beneficiaries will come from the wide range of charities FareShare works with including homeless hostels, women’s refuges and breakfast clubs for disadvantaged children.

FoodCloud is supplying its technology and expertise developed from its scheme in Ireland, while FareShare brings its knowledge of the UK charity redistribution market and its experience of providing food to an increasing network of frontline organisations that offer hot meals and other support for people in food poverty. All charities will be supported by FareShare to ensure they are using this surplus food safely.

The scheme is already in place at Tesco stores in Ireland, and will now be piloted in ten Tesco stores around the UK.

New figures recently published reveal 55,400 tonnes of food was thrown away at Tesco stores and distribution centres in the UK over the past year, of which around 30,000 tonnes could otherwise have been eaten.

Tesco is committed to ensuring the upfront work they do to make the scheme effective across their own stores is shared with other retailers and food companies.

Dave Lewis, Tesco CEO said:

“No one wants to throw away food which could otherwise be eaten.

“We don’t throw away much food in our own operations but even the 1% we do throw away amounts to 55,400 tonnes.

“To reduce this amount even further, we’ll be working in partnership with FareShare FoodCloud to ensure any food left unsold in our stores at the end of each day is given to local charities.

 “This is potentially the biggest single step we’ve taken to cut food waste, and we hope it marks the start of eliminating the need to throw away edible food in our stores.”

Lindsay Boswell, FareShare CEO said:

“FareShare already has a long standing partnership with Tesco and the development of the FareShare FoodCloud is a natural evolution of this.

“We understand that customers get angry when they see food being wasted in their local store. We do too and that is why we have spent 20 years developing our successful charity redistribution model.

“Our partnership with Tesco means we are already able to access surplus food from their supply chain, Distribution Centres and dotcoms.” 

Tesco is the only supermarket to publish its own independently assessed food waste data. The latest publication showed that the amount of food thrown away had dipped from 56,580 tonnes in 2013/14 to 55,400 tonnes in 2014/15.The food most commonly thrown away in Tesco stores is from the bakery, followed by fresh fruit and vegetables and convenience items like pre-packaged sandwiches and salads.

Iseult Ward, Co-founder of FoodCloud said:

“FoodCloud has already been successful in connecting food outlets with charities in Ireland through our unique technological solution for surplus food redistribution.

“Our work in Ireland means that over 300 charities have already benefited from using the platform. It has helped us create a robust model that we have translated for the UK market.

“We are delighted to be working in partnership with both FareShare and Tesco so that we can bring our solution in to the UK to ensure that more charities can benefit. We are looking forward to the developments that will come about as a result of this trial.”

FareShare FoodCloud is the latest innovation in Tesco’s work with FareShare on the provision of surplus food. The partnership spans over three years and has included activities which make food available from the Tesco supply chain, Distribution Centres and Dotcom centres. This has seen four and a half million meals of surplus food donated to support nearly 2,000 charities and community groups across the UK.

Across the food supply chain, around 1% of food waste occurs within supermarket operations. The rest is thrown away earlier in the chain - in suppliers’ fields and factories - or in customers’ own homes.

Tesco sees a shared responsibility when it comes to tackling food waste. It is working with its suppliers to cut food waste in the supply chain, and is helping customers to reduce the amount of food thrown away in their homes. Tesco ended Buy One Get One Free offers on fruit and vegetables in the UK in April 2014. Tesco has also worked with the Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP) to include ‘Love Food Hate Waste’ hints and tips on the packaging of a number of fruit and vegetable products on sale.

Notes to editors

  • We want to do everything we can to make sure as much surplus food as possible goes to people who really need it. If this isn’t possible, food waste is recycled and used to feed farm animals or used for biofuels.

About FareShare FoodCloud:

  • Charities and community groups can register their interest at: www.fareshare.org.uk/fareshare-foodcloud
  • If you are already a charity receiving food directly from a store then this will not affect your ability to continue picking this up.

About FareShare:

  • FareShare is a unique charity fighting hunger and its underlying causes by  providing food to more than 1,923 local charities and community organisations across the UK, including homeless shelters, children’s breakfast clubs, women’s refuge centres and luncheon clubs for the older people, helping  to feed 149,000 people every week
  • By working in partnership with the food industry, FareShare received 7,360 tonnes of food last year. The majority of this was surplus and would otherwise have gone to waste. This was mainly fresh produce, such as fruit, vegetables and meat
  • Last year FareShare redistributed enough food for 15.3 million meals, saving each charity an average of £13,000 a year
  • FareShare’s member charities prepare and serve the food onsite, offering their beneficiaries a hot, nutritious meal when they may otherwise go without

About FoodCloud:

  • FoodCloud, an innovative social enterprise founded by social entrepreneurs Iseult Ward and Aoibheann O’Brien, connects businesses that have surplus food to charities in their community that need it, through their technology platform and app.
  • In the last 12 months FoodCloud have signed up over 100 stores and 300 charities across Ireland, redistributing 431 tonnes of food, the equivalent of almost 1 million meals to charities and community groups.
  • The unique solution developed by FoodCloud for store level surplus food is one of the first in Europe and has been successfully launched with Tesco Ireland on a national scale.
  • Within communities food businesses frequently experience food surpluses, while charities struggle to provide food for those who need it most. FoodCloud provides an opportunity for businesses and charities within communities to work together to solve the social and environmental impact associated with food waste and food poverty.

For more information please contact the Tesco Press Office on
01992 644645

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