Tesco publishes food waste data


Supermarket Tesco has become the first retailer to publish its own food waste figures.

It tracked 25 key bestselling products to understand levels of food waste and where it occurs from farm to fork.


From the data, it has revealed that 68 per cent of all salad grown for bagged salads ends up wasted and 35 of all food waste happens in the home.

As a first step in reducing this waste, Tesco has announced it will end multi-buys on large bags of salad and is developing mix-and-match promotions for smaller bags in a bid to help customers reduce the amount they are wasting at home.

The figures revealed that:

  • 40 per cent of apples are wasted with just over a quarter of that waste occurring in the home. Tesco is involved in trials with growers to reduce pests and diseases, as well as giving customers simple tips on how to store apples to help them last longer.
  • Just under half of bakery items are wasted. As a result, Tesco has changed how bakeries are run in over 600 stores to minimise waste and is sharing tips with customers about how to use leftover bread.
  • A quarter of grapes are wasted between the vine and fruit bowl, with the majority of that waste happening in the home. Tesco is working with producers to trial new varieties of grapes that have a longer life. It is also working directly with suppliers to shorten the time it takes food to get from the field to the store.
  • A fifth of all bananas are wasted and one in ten bananas bought by customers ends up in the bin. Tesco has introduced a new state-of-the-art temperature control system to ensure bananas last longer in transportation and staff in stores are being trained how to make them last longer.

Tesco commercial director of group food Matt Simister said: “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 veg in the right way. Families are wasting an estimated £700 a year and we want to help them keep that money in their pockets, rather than throwing it in the bin.

“We’re playing our part too and making changes to our processes and in store. Ending multi-buy promotions on large packs of bagged salads is one way we can help, but this is just the start and 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.”

WRAP director Richard Swannell added: “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. Food waste is a global issue and collaborative action is essential if we are to successfully reduce food waste and reap the financial and environmental benefits of doing so.”

In the first six months of this year, 28,500 tonnes of food waste were generated in Tesco stores and distribution centres.

Tesco is now using the data to make changes to its own processes and cut food waste. ‘Display until’ dates are being removed from fresh fruit and vegetables, smaller cases are being used in store and 600 bakeries in larger stores have been rearranged to reduce the amount of bread on display, leading to better stock control and less waste.