UK Food Waste Data 2018/19

At Tesco, we have no time for waste. In 2013 we made a commitment to lead on reducing food waste globally - working in partnership with our producers and suppliers, helping customers reduce waste in their homes and tackling the issue in our own operations. We were the first UK retailer to publish food waste data and are committed to driving progress towards the UN Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) target to halve global food waste by 2030.

Highlights from 2018/19 include:

  • Through Community Food Connection We donated 10,946 tonnes of surplus food from our stores and distribution centres to 7,000 charities and community groups - equivalent to over 26 million meals.
  • 8,071 tonnes of food (not taken by charities) was offered and taken by colleagues through our ‘colleague shops’ which have now been rolled out to all stores.
  • We have reached 81% of our target that no food safe for human consumption will go to waste in our own operations.1

The power of publishing a detailed breakdown of our waste is that we are able to identify hotspots and take action. This has enabled us to work in partnership with others to reduce food waste and increase food surplus redistribution in a targeted way.

We think it’s incredibly important for every retailer to be clear about waste within their own operations so we can find ways of reducing waste together over the long-term.

In 2018/19, we sold 9,937,974 tonnes of food to customers through our UK operations. This generated 77,184 tonnes of surplus food (not sold to customers).

In total 32,887 tonnes of surplus food was redistributed to charities, community groups, colleagues and animal feed. This represents 63% increase compared to last year.


This has resulted in a 51% decrease in the amount of food safe for human consumption going to energy recovery compared to last year. In February 2019 81% of food safe for human consumption was stopped from going to energy recovery and kept in the food chain.


Total food waste (food safe and not safe for human consumption sent to energy recovery) for 2018/19 was 44,297 tonnes (0.45% of sales). This represents a 17% decrease compared to last year and an 8% decrease compared to our baseline year 2013/14.


We have continued to extend how we work with our producers to ensure that we take as much of their crop as possible. This includes better long range planning and stronger commitments to take crop as well as purchasing unexpected bumper crops caused by the weather. This approach has resulted in an increase in the volume of surplus fruit and vegetables in our own operations and a smaller reduction in our total food waste. We think taking this crop into our operations and attempting to sell it or donate it is the right thing to do to reduce waste farm to fork. We have also expanded ranges important to customers but not suitable for donation to charity, for example prepared produce.

Food waste is too big an issue for any one company to tackle alone We’re calling on every other food company to commit to halving global food waste by 2030 and publish their food waste data.

Find out how we calculate our food waste data here

Comment from our independent assurance provider, KPMG LLP

KPMG LLP were engaged to provide independent limited assurance over the selected food waste data highlighted on this webpage with a ◊ using the assurance standard ISAE 3000. KPMG has issued an unqualified opinion over the selected data. KPMG’s full assurance statement is available here.


Food safe for human consumption is defined as suitable for donation to charity. Progress against our target has been based on data from February 2019.