Tesco vows to act after study confirms huge food waste

 

Britain’s shameful waste of food has been confirmed by a new study that shows more than two-thirds of produce grown for bagged salads, just under half of bakery goods and four out of 10 of apples are thrown away.

Tesco, working in conjunction with the Waste and Resources Action Programme (Wrap), calculated the food waste “footprint” for 25 of the supermarket’s best-selling products – looking at what was wasted both inside its supermarkets and in the homes of its customers.

The retail giant admitted that 28,500 tonnes of food waste were generated in its stores and distribution centres in the first six months of this year.

It also estimated that uneaten food costs families about £700 a year.

The company said it was changing its sales tactics in a bid to reduce household waste, by ending multi-buy offers on large bags of salad and removing “display until” dates from fresh fruit and vegetables.

It will also rearrange 600 in-store bakeries to reduce the amount of bread on display and improve stock control.

In 2011, Wrap estimated that 15 million tonnes of food waste is generated each year in the UK – with more than half coming from households – and the issue is seen as a growing international problem.

“Food waste is a global issue and collaborative action is essential if we are to successfully reduce it and reap the financial and environmental benefits of doing so,” said Wrap director Richard Swannell.

“We welcome Tesco’s approach to tackling food waste across their whole supply chain and, by identifying the hot spots, they can tackle these areas effectively.”

Tesco’s commercial director of group food Matt Simister said the changes they were making were “just the start”.

“We’ve all got a responsibility to tackle food waste and there is no quick-fix single solution. Little changes can make a big difference, like storing fruit and vegetables in the right way,” he said.

“We’ll be reviewing what else we can do. We’re working with our suppliers to try to cut waste at all stages of the journey from farm to fork.”

The research found that 68 per cent of produce grown for bagged salad was thrown out, 35 per cent of it in the home. A quarter of grapes are also wasted between the vine and the fruit bowl and a fifth of all bananas are uneaten – with customers throwing one in 10 in the bin.

Tesco said it was involved in trials with apple-growers to reduce pests and disease and will provide simple tips to customers about storing the fruit after finding that more than a quarter of the wastage happens at home.

It will also share tips with customers about how to use leftover bread, and is working with grape and banana suppliers to improve delivery times and conditions.

Wrap said that since 2007 the amount of food waste produced by UK households had fallen by 1.1 million tonnes to 7.2 million tonnes in 2011. Of that, 4.4 million tonnes was usable food, rather than scraps or bones.

Last month, the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said in a report that 1.3 billion tonnes of food was wasted globally.

Wasted food decays to produce methane, a significant greenhouse gas, and also wastes the water used to produce it.

FAO director-general José Graziano da Silva said as the report was launched: “In addition to the environmental imperative, there is a moral one: we simply cannot allow one-third of all the food we produce to go to waste, when 870 million people go hungry every day.”

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive or Senior Sales Executive - B2B Exhibitions

£18000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Executive or Senior Sal...

Recruitment Genius: Head of Support Services

£40000 - £55000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Warehouse Team Leader

£22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This industry leading company produces h...

Recruitment Genius: Business Development Manager / Sales - OTE £40,000

£20000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This IT provider for the educat...

Day In a Page

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

BBC heads to the Californian coast

The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

Car hacking scandal

Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
10 best placemats

Take your seat: 10 best placemats

Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory
Ashes 2015: Alastair Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Aussie skipper Michael Clarke was lured into believing that what we witnessed at Edgbaston and Trent Bridge would continue in London, says Kevin Garside
Can Rafael Benitez get the best out of Gareth Bale at Real Madrid?

Can Benitez get the best out of Bale?

Back at the club he watched as a boy, the pressure is on Benitez to find a winning blend from Real's multiple talents. As La Liga begins, Pete Jenson asks if it will be enough to stop Barcelona
Athletics World Championships 2015: Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jessica Ennis-Hill and Katarina Johnson-Thompson heptathlon rivalry

Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jess and Kat rivalry

The last time the two British heptathletes competed, Ennis-Hill was on the way to Olympic gold and Johnson-Thompson was just a promising teenager. But a lot has happened in the following three years
Jeremy Corbyn: Joining a shrewd operator desperate for power as he visits the North East

Jeremy Corbyn interview: A shrewd operator desperate for power

His radical anti-austerity agenda has caught the imagination of the left and politically disaffected and set a staid Labour leadership election alight
Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief: Defender of ancient city's past was killed for protecting its future

Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief

Robert Fisk on the defender of the ancient city's past who was killed for protecting its future