How Booker calculates its food waste figure (UK)

Food Waste Methodology: How we calculated the food waste from our UK operations

Scope and Definitions

The methodology outlined below is used to calculate the total tonnes of food wasted in our UK operations for the full Tesco financial year 2020/21. The information provided is in conformance with the Food Loss and Waste Accounting Standard (FLW Standard).[1]


In line with our financial reporting, the published figures for food waste covers our 2020/21 financial year, which runs from 2nd March 2020 to 27th February 2021 inclusive.

Store Location and Type

The scope of this calculation covers food waste arising within Booker Wholesale, Makro Wholesale, Booker Direct, Chef Direct, Booker Retail Partners, Best Foods and Ritter Courivaud, from our distribution centres and branches in the UK.

Note Best Foods was acquired in 2020 and is reported for the first time this year. Food waste from Booker India is excluded.

The calculation only covers our operations. Therefore, waste arising at our suppliers’ sites and from third party partners is not included.

Food Waste Definition

The food waste definition used by Booker is aligned with that of the UK Food Waste Reduction Roadmap as well as that adopted by Champions 12.3.

Material types: The scope of the calculation includes food waste and associated inedible parts.

Destinations: While multiple destinations fall under the definition of “food waste” for Booker, food waste only goes to Anaerobic Digestion, Incineration/Controlled combustion and landfill. Note that food waste only goes to landfill from two stores in the Isle of Wight where we have not been able to find a viable alternative

Food donated to charities is not considered food waste. Packaging waste is excluded.

Food Categories

All food categories sold at Booker are included in the scope.[2]

During the calculations, all non-food items are removed from our waste data. The following products are out of scope and therefore excluded from the calculations:

  • Non Food, Pet Food, Tobacco, Health & Beauty, Laundry/Wash Up/Cleaning, Baby, Medicines, Catering Household and Catering Cleaning.

Data Sources

In order to calculate the amount of food wasted each year we record the following data in our sites.

The data is divided by individual business including waste arising from Booker Branch, Booker Retail Partners, Riter Courivaid and Best Foods. These datasets contain the number of cases wasted or donated and the total value (£) of such items, split by type.

· Damages: Products that are damaged in branch &/or at the warehouse/distribution depot, including damages in transit from depot to customer.

· Notfied Loss: Products that are damaged during an exceptional event.[3]

· Out of Code (OOC)/Short Dated: Products that exceed the ‘Best before’ or ‘Use by’ date or with insufficient shelf-life for sale.

· Out of Temperature/Fridge Breakdown: Products that are not fit for sale or rejected by customer due to temperature failure &/or fridge breakdowns.

· Poor Quality: Products that do not meet sales quality standards.

· Product Recall: Products affected by a supplier product recall.

· Charity Donations: Products that are donated to charities or Company Shop.[4]

Product Attributes: This dataset includes the net weight of a saleable unit per item as well as the number of saleable units. This also includes information on whether a product is sold by weight or case.

Weighted products information: This dataset includes the per kg sales value and cost of weighted items. The data was provided for three dates during the financial year, an average of these values was used. This figure is used to measure waste from weighted items (products sold by weight). The weight of these items is estimated by dividing the value of the waste by the per kg cost of the item.


The bullet points below explain how we have calculated our total food waste tonnage for the full year 2020/21:

  • Included in the scope of our calculation is any food that has not been sold in across our business because it is past its best before or use by date, has been damaged or withdrawn from the market. The non-food categories mentioned above are removed at this stage.
  • The number of units wasted per item is converted into a weight measured in tonnes by multiplying the number of units wasted by the per unit weight*. For weighted items, the value of the waste is divided by the per kg cost.
  • We perform a ‘bottom up’ calculation from the waste tonnages for individual products (e.g. mushrooms), to the commercial food category (e.g. Fruit & Veg), to our entire Booker UK operations.
  • Waste tonnages are added to obtain totals by category and for our entire UK operations.
  • The following steps are taken to select the best estimate for product contents weights:
      1. Product net content weights are checked category by category and are marked as requiring adjustment where the content weight is missing or if it is high or low compared to the category average.
      2. If an adjustment is required, packaged weights are selected where available and if appropriate per expert judgement.
      3. For all items with no packaged weight data available, items are checked on a sub-category basis and either the category or sub-category average is used based on expert judgement.

To minimise the risk associated with such estimates, categories with the largest number of waste items are prioritised and checked in more detail as these have the greatest impact on the total waste.

In addition, within each category, the products with the highest number of wasted units are checked manually one-by-one as these can also have a significant impact on the total waste tonnage.

* It is assumed that 1 L is equivalent to 1 Kg where product content weights are listed as volumes.

Food waste intensity figures

0.15% of food was wasted in our Booker operations in 2020/21. In line with the Food surplus and waste measurement and-reporting UK guidelines from 2020/21 our food waste intensity figure represents our food waste as a percentage of food handled. Restated figures are shown below.

Food handled is the sum of food wasted, donated, sent to animal feed and sales. The figure for food sales is measured using the same method for food wasted: multiplying the number of units handled by the same per unit weight used in the calculation described above.


We have updated our base year target base year from FY1718 to FY1617 to align this with other Tesco markets. The new base year was calculated as follows:

  • Booker wholesale and BRP: Data for FY1718 was used as a proxy as FY1617 data was not available. Data published included 53 weeks and has been adjusted to 52 weeks
  • Ritter Courivaud: Data for FY1920 was used as a proxy as earlier data was not available
  • Best Foods: Actual data for FY1617 was calculated using the same method described above

The new baseline data is shown below. Note data published for FY1819 and FY1920 is not comparable given the different scope.


Financial Year

Total Food Waste (tonnes)

Food Waste as a % of Food Handled (by weight)







[1] More information available here.

[2] United Nations Central Production Classifications 2.1 Divisions 21 – 24

[3] Notified Loss in the Branch waste Beers, Wines & Spirits category is classed as theft so has been excluded.

[4] Charity donations and sales to secondary markets have been reported separately for Booker Retail Partners from FY1920; charity donations for Booker Distribution are captured manually and may be double counted in the distribution waste numbers