UK Supermarket Vows To End Food Waste From Its Stores In 2018

If successful, Tesco would be the first company to do so.

Continuing its efforts to decrease the amount of food wasted each year, supermarket chain Tesco announced no food that is fit for human consumption will be thrown away from any of its 2,654 stores across the United Kingdom by the end of February 2018. The company has already implemented practices and developed partnerships with local charities that have resulted in 16 million meals being donated to over 6,000 nonprofits. Tesco is the first to make such a promise and is urging other supermarket chains to implement similar plans. 

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"Food waste has been talked about for years but if Tesco can make this work, with all of our different stores across the country, then why can't everybody?" Tesco CEO Dave Lewis told The Telegraph

According to the Telegraph, Tesco has not sent food to a landfill in almost ten years. In 2014, the company launched a partnership with FoodCloud, an app that allows every Tesco store to distribute its excess inventory to local organizations. On the app, employees are able to scan and upload a store's extra food items, which are then picked up by charities. Tesco estimates the partnership has allowed them to donate 600,000 meals a week. 

"Last year we sold 10m tons of food to the British public," Lewis said. "But even if our waste is just 0.7pc of the food, that's still 70,000 tons of food."

Per the USDA, an estimated 30-40 percent of the food supply is wasted in the U.S. each year. In 2010, American retailers and consumers threw away 133 billion pounds or $161 billion worth of food. However, local efforts, such as New Jersey's pledge to cut food waste in half by 2030, have been put in place to help decrease that amount.

"In retail there will always be some surplus food, because no matter how sophisticated the ordering systems are it will be impossible to perfectly match the supply and demand for every one of our shops, 365 days a year, when there's so much volatility," said Lewis. "So long as that food is fit for human consumption I'd much prefer it to go to people than animal feed or fuel."

Cover image via l i g h t p o e t / Shutterstock

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