Tesco launches charity scheme to reduce food waste

Tesco has launched a groundbreaking new scheme to redistribute surplus food from its UK stores to people in need.

The now worldwide supermarket chain has partnered with UK food redistribution charity FareShare and Irish social enterprise FoodCloud to trial the FareShare FoodCloud app in the UK. Tesco has already been working in different areas of the supply chain to tackle food waste - including through its existing partnership with FareShare - and this new scheme will mean eliminating the need to throw away food in Tesco stores that could otherwise be eaten.

Using the FareShare FoodCloud app, Tesco store managers will alert charities to the amount of surplus food they have at the end of each day. The charity then confirms it wants the food, picks it up free of charge from the store and turns it into meals for those in need. Beneficiaries will come from the wide range of charities FareShare works with including homeless hostels, women's refuges and breakfast clubs for disadvantaged children.

FoodCloud is supplying its technology and expertise developed from its scheme in Ireland, while FareShare brings its knowledge of the UK charity redistribution market and its experience of providing food to an increasing network of frontline organisations that offer hot meals and other support for people in food poverty. All charities will be supported by FareShare to ensure they are using this surplus food safely.

The scheme is already in place at Tesco stores in Ireland, and will now be piloted in ten Tesco stores around the UK.

New figures recently published reveal 55,400 tonnes of food was thrown away at Tesco stores and distribution centres in the UK over the past year, of which around 30,000 tonnes could otherwise have been eaten.

Dave Lewis, Tesco CEO said:

"No one wants to throw away food which could otherwise be eaten. We don't throw away much food in our own operations but even the 1% we do throw away amounts to 55,400 tonnes.

"To reduce this amount even further, we'll be working in partnership with FareShare FoodCloud to ensure any food left unsold in our stores at the end of each day is given to local charities.

"This is potentially the biggest single step we've taken to cut food waste, and we hope it marks the start of eliminating the need to throw away edible food in our stores."