Tesco passes 85% target for redistributing surplus food
Tesco has announced it redistributed 88% of surplus food across its UK business, surpassing its own target of 85%, which was set in 2016.
The target was beaten in the last year thanks largely to the supermarket’s relationships with partners including FareShare and Olio.
FareShare remains a long-standing partner, supporting nearly 8,500 community groups and charities with surplus food from Tesco’s network of stores and distribution centres. Last year, Tesco donated more than 25 million meals via FareShare to charities and community groups.
Tesco has also been working with food sharing app Olio since 2020. If local charities or community groups through FareShare are unable to take any surplus food, Tesco makes it available free of charge to Olio Food Waste Heroes, who go on to redistribute it to others in their communities. In the last 12 months, Tesco donated more than 20 million meals worth of surplus food through Olio to those in local communities who need it.
In 2022/23, Tesco donated more food than ever before, with an average of over three million meals a month going to charities and communities. Its Community Food Connection scheme is the largest surplus food redistribution scheme in Europe – donating over 166m meals since 2016.
Tesco follows a food waste hierarchy when deciding the right way to handle any food surplus, with food donated to people as a priority – to charities and communities via FareShare and Olio, or free-of-charge to Tesco colleagues via its ‘Colleague Shop’ initiative. Any remaining surplus is converted to pet or animal feed where possible.
Tesco passing its 85% surplus food target comes after the retailer accelerated its target to halve food waste in its own operations by 2025 – five years ahead of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal.
Cheryl Wetherburn, Food Surplus Project Manager at Tesco said: “No-one wants to see good food go to waste. With so many people facing food insecurity in the UK, we are working harder than ever to make sure food gets to those who need it.
“We are incredibly proud of the vital work our partners do every single day, and it’s thanks to their efforts – and the hard work of all our colleagues and volunteers – that helps the food reach so many people.”
Lindsay Boswell, Chief Executive at FareShare, said: “It’s fantastic to see how committed Tesco is to reducing its food waste across all of its operations. The food we receive through Community Food Connection and via Tesco distribution centres as a result of this innovative and award-winning partnership is absolutely vital to the charities and community groups we support, who work tirelessly to feed the people in their community that need it most. Together with Tesco, we are helping to strengthen communities across the UK and make a real difference to people’s lives.”
Tessa Clarke, CEO and co-founder at Olio said: “It’s wonderful to see Tesco leading by example in the UK retail industry by setting and meeting bold, ambitious food waste reduction targets. We’re truly proud to partner with them – and with FareShare – to make sure that good, edible food never goes to waste, but ends up benefiting people across the country.”
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