Central European Food Waste Data 2019/20

At Tesco, we have no time for waste. We are the first retailer in Central Europe to publish food waste data for our own operations, and are proud to have achieved the UN Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) target to halve food waste by 2030.

Highlights from 2019/20 include:

  • Our total food waste has reduced by 35% in the last year, from 28,663 tonnes in 2018/19 to 18,541 tonnes in 2019/20. This is 66% reduction compared to our baseline year of 2016/17.
  • Through our partnership with national food banks, who help to redistribute surplus food, we donated 12,559 tonnes of surplus food to local charities from our stores and distribution centres. This is equivalent to almost 30 million meals. To date we have donated over 100m meals since we started donations in 2013.
  • We have continued to roll out our surplus food redistribution programme to more food Banks and local charities with 773 stores (out of 869) donating including all stores in Slovakia and Czech Republic. Our aim is that all stores will offer surplus food by the end of this year.

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 2019/20, 2,692,767 tonnes of food sold in Central Europe generated 40,867 tonnes of surplus food not sold to customers (1.52%), a 21% decrease over the last three years.

22,327 tonnes of surplus was redistributed through donations to food banks and local charities or animal feed, an increase of 65% over the last three years.

This has resulted in a 66% decrease in food safe for human consumption disposed of over the same period[1].



Total food waste (food safe and not safe for human consumption) in 2019/20 was 18,541 tonnes. This represents a 35% decrease compared to last year and a 66% decrease compared to the baseline year 2016/17.

Waste as a % of sales was 0.69%, a decrease of 58% compared to our 2016/17 baseline (1.63%) meaning we have delivered SDG Target 12.3 to halve food waste in our own operations.

Our year on year waste reduction was mainly the result of operational improvements that helped reduce levels of unsold surplus food. These included reduction of unproductive selling space and simplifying of our product ranges to reduce the number of slow selling lines. These changes helped us to more accurately match supply and demand through our store forecasting and ordering systems. In addition we continued to improve our reduce to clear process in store which further reduced levels of unsold food. The continued roll out of our food surplus redistribution programme helping to ensure that food that was not sold in store was offered to those in need and not wasted.

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.

[1]  Food safe for human consumption is defined as suitable for donation to charity.

Find out how we calculate our food waste data here