Tesco accelerates plan to halve operational food waste by 2025

Tesco has announced ‘accelerated plans’ to halve food waste in its operations by 2025, aligning executive pay performance targets to key sustainability measures.

food wasteSo far, Tesco says it has achieved a 45 per cent reduction in food waste across its own operations against the 2016/2017 baseline. Despite only 0.35 per cent of the food handled by the retailer last year being wasted, it highlights that there is ‘still more to do’.

In order to meet the new target, Tesco has developed a plan involving the following:

  • Continued investment in its existing food surplus redistribution programmes, including partnerships with FareShare and OLIO – aiming to divert ‘even more’ surplus food to people in need
  • An expansion of its supplier partnership programme, with the objective of further helping suppliers to reduce food waste in a variety of ways. For instance, stocking 'wonky' fruit and veg, working with suppliers to manage bumper crops, and helping suppliers distribute surplus food to local communities
  • The diversion of more surplus food (that cannot go to humans) to suppliers who can utilise it as animal feed
  • The continued development of new solutions, such as testing how food waste can be fed to Black Soldier Flies to create protein, which has the potential to be used as an alternative to soy animal feed

Food waste reduction will be among the key sustainability measures marking executive performance targets – 25 per cent of the Performance Share Plan awards that Executive Directors receive will depend on progress towards this, as well as gender and ethnicity representation, and carbon reduction.

Tesco presents its partnerships with food redistribution charity FareShare as a key element of its ‘success to date’. In 2016, when the retailer first launched its food surplus redistribution programme, 11 million meals were donated – this increased to 26 million last year. In total, over 140m meals have been donated to charities and community groups since the scheme began.

Working directly with 107 global suppliers to implement the ‘Champions 12.3 Target Measure Act framework’ has helped collectively reduce food waste loss and waste by 78,000 tonnes, Teso says.

As well as this, the retailer offers ways in which colleagues and customers could save money and reduce waste – such as allowing colleagues to take food approaching its expiry date home, for free.

According to Tesco, its ‘use up day’ campaign could save the average family £260 a year simply by cooking a meal – once a week – using up food they already have in their kitchen.

Ken Murphy, Tesco Group CEO, said: “While I’m proud of our progress in making sure good food doesn’t go to waste, we know there’s still more work to do. By accelerating our target to halve food waste in our operations by 2025 and aligning executive pay performance targets to this goal, we hope to drive further transformative change.

“However, the work we and our suppliers do won’t tackle the issue alone. We have long called for Government to introduce mandatory food waste reporting to help measure and judge if real action is happening. Action must be taken across the whole industry.”