In its newly published Tesco and Society report, the supermarket has revealed that 56,580 tonnes of food were wasted in its stores in distribution centres in 2013/14.
This is equivalent to just 0.9 per cent of the number of food products sold in stores over the same period.
Along the supply chain, 31 per cent of food was wasted with both agriculture and supply as well as the consumer wasting 15 per cent of food each.
In Tesco’s stores, bakery items were most wasted at 41 per cent of the total tonnage value, followed by 21 per cent for produce and 8 per cent for convenience foods and 8 per cent for dairy.
This data has been independently assured by KPMG.
In the report, Tesco commercial director – group food Matt Simister wrote: “We have a shared responsibility for food waste across the value chain – from farm to fork – and we have made clear that we want to do more than reduce waste within our own stores and distribution centres. The key to delivering real reductions is to identify where most waste occurs and design tailored solutions to tackling these hot spots.
“That is why, using our unique viewpoint in the food value chain, we have been working to develop new insights into food waste, including waste profiles for 25 of our most frequently purchased food products. We have also been sharing data on food waste within our UK operations.”
Tesco is working to a hierarchy of seeking to minimise food waste in the first place, offering food that cannot be sold to charities, sending bakery products to be converted into animal feed and converting oil into biodiesel, and then finally using anaerobic digestion or incineration to recover energy.
The retailer also revealed that it is now recycling, reusing or recovering energy from 86 per cent of the waste created within the group worldwide, with the exception of Turkey and Thailand where the information isn’t available.
It has also managed to reduce CO2 emissions by 34.7 per cent per square foot across its stores and distribution centres against a 2006/07 baseline.