Apparently, the UK wastes about 15 million tonnes of food every year – at least that’s what WRAP, the waste prevention charity, says.
That’s about quarter of a tonne for every woman, man and child in the country. And that is three times the body weight of the average person – an astonishing amount.
About half of food waste is thrown away by people at home. The rest of the waste takes place in the supply chain.
Now Tesco has come up with a new scheme to give unsold food to charities. It says that last year about 55,400 tonnes of food was wasted within Tesco operations and about 30,000 tonnes of that could have been eaten. That 55,400 tonnes accounts for about one per cent of the food handled by Tesco every year.
The new scheme aims to improve the process of getting unsold food to charities before it goes off. Tesco is working with FareShare, the food redistribution charity, and Irish social enterprise FoodCloud to trial an app to do this in ten UK stores. FareShare already has access to surplus food at Tesco’s distribution centres.
Store managers can use the FareShare FoodCloud app to 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.
Tesco deserve credit for an entirely laudable scheme that could allow a substantial amount of that wasted 30,000 tonnes to be used. And if other large retailers adopted a similar approach, up to 100,000 tonnes could be saved.
Nevertheless, millions of tonnes of food will still go to waste. More innovative ideas are still needed to reduce food waste in the supply chain.