Tesco is starting a scheme which could hand tens of thousands of tonnes of surplus food from its stores to local charities as supermarkets come under rising pressure to reduce waste.
The UK’s biggest supermarket admits that it wasted 55,400 tonnes of food from its stores last year, about 30,000 tonnes of which was edible. Some food left over at its warehouses is already distributed to charities, but Tesco currently sends the vast majority of food waste from shops for use as animal feed or to be loaded into anaerobic digestion energy plants.
A new partnership with food redistribution charity FareShare will link Tesco store managers with local charities to hand over unwanted food several times a week. The scheme has already been tested at over 100 stores in Ireland and will go into an initial 10 stores in the UK including outlets in Glasgow, Belfast, Merseyside and London.
Across the pond, America’s NPR reported that a supermarket chain in the US Raleys is attempting to tackle food waste by selling the ‘imperfect vegetables ‘ which are rejected by retailers, and which go straight into land-fill. Raley’s announced Tuesday it will begin selling less-than-perfect fruits and vegetables in July.
NPR says worryingly, food is wasted at every step in the supply chain — during transportation and processing and once it gets to our refrigerators.
And think of everything that goes into growing crop: the water, the fertilizer, the fuel to run the tractor.
“Eighty percent of our water, 10 percent of our energy, 40 percent of our land is used to grow our food,” says Peter Lehner of the NRDC. And, according to this NRDC report, up to 40 percent of the food produced never gets eaten. “It’s crazy.”