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No Opportunity Wasted

19 Feb 2014

Speaking at the ‘No Opportunity Wasted’ conference on 6th February, Tesco’s Head of Food Waste Reduction, Mark Little, presented new insight into how we are reducing food waste.

Speaking at the ‘No Opportunity Wasted’ conference on 6th February, Tesco’s Head of Food Waste Reduction, Mark Little, presented new insight into how we are reducing food waste.

The conference, which was held at the Institution of Mechanical Engineers in London and sponsored by the Dutch Embassy, brought together some of the leading authorities in the fight against food waste, including WRAP, Fareshare and the Sustainable Restaurant Association.

ConferenceTesco has been at the forefront of efforts to reduce food waste. Since May 2013 we have been working with our producers and suppliers to find out exactly where food waste arises for 25 of our most regularly purchased items. This has helped us establish waste ‘hotspots’ for each product and to develop targeted waste reduction action plans.  

In the case of grapes, for example, we know that by far the biggest proportion of waste occurs in the customer’s home. That’s why one of our priorities has been to shorten the time it takes to get grapes from the farm to the supermarket shelf so that customers have longer to eat their grapes before they go soft (and are thrown away).

One way that we have done this is by fixing orders, for example promising our grape suppliers that we will take at least 80% of their harvest no matter what. Not only is this good news for our suppliers’ business but it means that they can now send their grapes directly to Tesco distribution centres rather than first ‘buffering the supply’ in UK storage facilities. As a result we add up to two days extra freshness for grapes from Europe.  

This is just one of the ways that we are turning the insight we have gathered on where food waste occurs into real action to reduce waste. 

For more information on the conference check out #foodwasteconf14 on Twitter.