Resource Use

Hubbub and Tesco launch food waste challenge

UK supermarket Tesco has teamed up with behaviour change charity to launch its ‘No Time for Waste Challenge’, which will target the 6.6 million tonnes of food waste generated by UK households each year.

The new collaboration comes on the back of polling commissioned by Tesco that reveals attitudes towards food waste have changed during the Covid-19 lockdown, with 67 per cent of respondents saying they feel differently about food.

A pile of food wasteAlmost a third of respondents (29 per cent) said that Covid-19 has pressed home to them the importance of food and for 38 per cent of those surveyed lockdown has been the most important event in recalibrating their relationship to food and food waste.

To capitalise on such changing attitudes, the ‘No Time for Waste Challenge’ will run a six-week trial across 55 UK households to test a series of interventions to reduce food waste. Interventions will include meal planning to leftover cooking sessions, with families logging and weighing their food waste every day to understand the most effective interventions.

Further research from Teasco reveals that more than a third of people (35 per cent) reduced their food waste during lockdown and 75 per cent kept this up once restrictions were lifted. 61 per cent now cook with leftovers every week and 32 per cent are planning their food shops more carefully.

Research from the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) during lockdown supports Tesco’s findings, reporting that a majority of citizens were adopting ‘food smart’ behaviours during lockdown.

Of the 55 families participating in the ‘No Time for Waste Challenge’, 67 per cent are taking part to be greener and 39 per cent want to cut down on their food bills.

Lockdown drives ‘huge change’

However, a third of people still don’t feel confident freezing or defrosting leftovers, while a quarter throw away leftovers because they don’t know what to do with them. Further, additional research from WRAP found that self-reported food waste has increased by 30 per cent as lockdown eases, underlining the need for initiatives such as the ‘No Time for Waste Challenge’ to maintain good habits.

Commenting on the campaign announcement, Mark Little, Head of Food Waste Campaigns at Tesco, said: “At Tesco we are committed to ensuring no good food goes to waste across the supply chain, and to helping customers reduce waste in their homes. Lockdown has led to a huge change in people’s relationship with food, with many more of us taking steps to reduce waste at home. We are delighted to be working with Hubbub to better understand how we can help customers keep up these changes for the long term.”

Aoife Allen, Head of Food, Hubbub, added: “Lockdown has driven the biggest change to the nation’s food habits in generations, and many of us have experienced shortages for the first time. But we’ve also seen a real shift with people valuing their food more, wasting less, and developing a new relationship with food. The ‘No Time For Waste Challenge’ is packed with activities to help people hold on to new cooking habits and make the most of all the food they buy.”

Food waste for thought

Prior to the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, WRAP had reported that food waste fell by seven per cent per person over the previous three years, though the costs of this waste remained high, around £700 per year for an average family with children.

The results of Tesco and Hubbub’s trial will be used to give further advice, guidance and encouragement to households to allow them to continue to reduce their food waste.

Tesco has long been at the forefront of tackling food waste among major supermarket retailers, becoming the first large supermarket in the UK to voluntarily publish its food waste data in 2013, and last year it called for mandatory food waste reporting for food retailers to be implemented by the government.

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