Managing our food surplus

23 May 2013

Working with food surplus charities to ensure surplus food goes to those in need

The nature of our business – offering a wide range of foods to our customers every day – means that there is some surplus food that we have stocked but have not been able to sell.

In the UK, we use the following hierarchy to manage our waste:

  1. We try to minimise any waste – for example by reducing to-clear foods close to their expiry date in stores
  2. If food cannot be sold, we offer it where possible to those in need by donating to charities
  3. We send bakery waste to be converted into animal feed for livestock. Out of date chicken and raw meat products are processed into pet food and our chicken fat and cooking oil is converted into biodiesel
  4. If these options are not available, we recover energy from food waste through anaerobic digestion or incineration

Over recent years, we have built strong partnerships with food surplus charities. In Hungary and the UK we work closely with the Hungarian Food Bank and FareShare, respectively, to ensure that unsold food is put to good use.

Recently, we have looked at how best to deal with food surplus at our dedicated grocery home shopping stores – the giant distribution centres that service our online customers in the UK.

Since October 2012 enough food has been diverted from pilots in these stores to provide over 100,000 meals to FareShare. We plan to roll out this initiative to all dedicated grocery home shopping stores by the end of this year, aiming to provide enough surplus food to serve over a million meals to UK charities.

Whilst our first priority is minimising food waste, this initiative ensures that any surplus food is well managed and as much as possible goes to those in need.

Find out more about how we are helping to feed people in need