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?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Massage Therapist / Sports Therapist / Physio / Osteopath

£12000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An opportunity has arisen for o...

Recruitment Genius: Account Manager / Sales Executive - Contract Hire

£35000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This industry leader provides c...

Recruitment Genius: Project Coordinator

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Project Coordinator is requir...

Recruitment Genius: Area Sales Manager - Midlands

£20000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Day In a Page

John Palmer: 'Goldfinger' of British crime was murdered, say police

Murder of the Brink’s-MAT mastermind

'Goldfinger' of British crime's life ended in a blaze of bullets, say police
Forget little green men - aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert

Forget little green men

Leading evolutionary biologist says aliens will look like humans
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: An Algerian scientist adjusts to life working in a kebab shop

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

An Algerian scientist struggles to adjust to her new life working in a Scottish kebab shop
Bodyworlds museum: Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy

Dying dream of Doctor Death

Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy
UK heatwave: Temperature reaches 39.8 degrees on Central Line - the sweatiest place in London

39.8 degrees recorded on Tube

There's hot (London) and too damn hot (the Underground). Simon Usborne braved the Central line to discover what its passengers suffer
Kitchens go hi-tech: From robot chefs to recipe-shopping apps, computerised cooking is coming

Computerised cooking is coming

From apps that automatically make shopping lists from your recipe books to smart ovens and robot chefs, Kevin Maney rounds up innovations to make your mouth water
Jessie Cave interview: The Harry Potter star has published a feminist collection of cartoons

Jessie Cave's feminist cartoons

The Harry Potter star tells Alice Jones how a one-night stand changed her life
Football Beyond Borders: Even the most distruptive pupils score at homework club

Education: Football Beyond Borders

Add football to an after-school homework club, and even the naughtiest boys can score
10 best barbecue books

Fire up the barbie: 10 best barbecue books

We've got Bibles to get you grilling and smoking like a true south American pro
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Junk balls and chop and slice are only way 5ft 1in Kurumi Nara can live with Petra Kvitova’s power

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

Junk balls and chop and slice are only way 5ft 1in Kurumi Nara can live with Petra Kvitova’s power
Ron Dennis exclusive: ‘This is one of the best McLaren teams ever – we are going to do it’

‘This is one of the best McLaren teams ever – we are going to do it’

Ron Dennis shrugs off a poor start to the season in an exclusive interview, and says the glory days will come back
Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

Making of a killer

What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
Exclusive - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Swapping Bucharest for London

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Meet the man who swapped Romania for the UK in a bid to provide for his family, only to discover that the home he left behind wasn't quite what it seemed
Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Solar power will help bring down electricity prices over the next five years, according to a new report. But it’s cheap imports of ‘dirty power’ that will lower them the most