How Booker calculates its food waste figure (UK)


The methodology outlined below is used to calculate the total tonnes of food wasted in our UK operations for the full Tesco financial year 2019/20. The information provided is in conformance with the Food Loss and Waste Accounting Standard (FLW Standard).[1]


The published figure represents the food wasted for the Tesco year 2019/20. In line with our financial reporting and for comparability against previous years we have reported food waste data for 52 weeks from 25 February 2019 to 23 February 2020 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 and Ritter Courivaud, from our distribution centres and branches in the UK. Note that waste for Ritter Courivaud  was not included in previous years. 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 goes 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.

Waste from weighted items (products sold by weight) has been included in this financial year.  The weight of these items is estimated by dividing the value of the waste by the per kg cost of the item. This was excluded in data for financial year 2017/18.


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

Branch waste: This dataset contains the number of cases wasted or donated and the total value (£) of such items, split by type:

  • Damages: Products that are damaged in branch.
  • Out of Code: Products that exceed the ‘Best before’ or ‘Use by’ date and can no longer be sold.
  • Notified Loss: Products that are damaged during an exceptional event. For example, this waste could be caused by a fridge breakdown or flood. For the Beers, Wines & Spirits category this code is classed as theft so has been excluded.
  • Product Recall: Products affected by a supplier product recall.
  • Charity Donation: Products that have been donated to a local charity.

Booker Distribution waste: This dataset contains the number of saleable units wasted or donated and the total value (£) of such items, split by type. Saleable units are converted into cases by dividing these by the number of saleable units per case.

  • Date Issue: Products that exceed the ‘Best before’ or ‘Use by’ date.
  • Temperature Rejections: Products that are not fit for sale due to temperature failures.
  • Other Damages: Products that are damaged at the distribution depot.
  • Charity Donations: Stock donated to charity is captured manually which can mean it is included in the distribution waste numbers so may be double counted.

Booker Retail Partners:  This data contains the number of cases wasted and the value split by waste type:

  • Short Dated: Products with insufficient shelf-life for sale.
  • Out of temperature: Products that are not fit for sale due to temperature failures.
  • Poor quality: Products that do not meet sales quality standards.
  • Damages: Products that are damaged at the distribution depot.
  • Charity donations: Products that are donated to charities or Company Shop.

Note that from this year, charity donations and products sold in clearance cages are reported separately and therefore no longer included in the waste figures.

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.


The bullet points below explain how we have calculated our total food waste tonnage for the full year 2019/20:

  • Included in the scope of our calculation is any food that has not been sold in our branches or depots 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 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.


We have reported 0.12% of food was wasted in our UK operations. This figure represents our food waste per food sales by weight. The sales weight is measured using the same method for food waste.

[1] More information available here.

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