UK Food Waste Data 2019/20

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 UN Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) Target 12.3 to halve global food waste by 2030.

Highlights from 2019/20 include:

  • 82% increase in the amount of surplus food redistributed to charities, community groups, colleagues and animal feed compared to 2017/18.
  • 77% towards our Target that no food safe for human consumption will go to waste1.
  • 61% decrease in the amount of food safe for human consumption going to energy recovery compared to 2017/18.
  • A 15% reduction in total food waste compared to our baseline year 2013/14.

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, we sold 9,775,692 tonnes of food to customers through our UK operations. This generated 77,807 tonnes (0.80%) of surplus food not sold to customers. As a retailer, we know perfectly matching supply and demand is almost impossible, there will always be some unsold food at the end of each day. Our priority is to reduce this surplus through continually optimising our forecasting and ordering and reduce to clear processes.

In total 36,843 tonnes of this surplus food was redistributed to charities, community groups, colleagues and animal feed preventing it from becoming waste. This represents a 12% increase since last year and an 82% increase since 2017/18.

This has resulted in a 21% decrease in the amount of food safe for human consumption going to energy recovery compared to last year and a 61% decrease compared to 2017/18.

Our target is that no food that is safe for human consumption  will be wasted in our UK retail operations. Over the course of this year, we have reached 77% of our target as we have embedded new processes to ensure our progress is sustainable.

Total food waste (food safe and not safe for human consumption sent to energy recovery) for 2019/20 was 40,963 tonnes (0.42% of sales). This represents an 8% decrease since last year and a 15% reduction compared to our baseline year 2013/14. A category breakdown of this waste is shown below.

Over the course of the coming year we will continue to focus on reducing our total waste figure and deliver Sustainable Development Goal Target 12.3. However, 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

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.

KPMG has provided independent limited assurance over selected data included within our Annual Report and Accounts using the assurance standard ISAE3000. KPMG has issued an unqualified opinion over the selected data available here, which together with our Reporting Criteria, should be read in conjunction with the selected data within the report. The data subject to KPMG’s assurance within the Annual Report and Accounts has been reproduced above where you see the symbol ◊

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