Around one third of the world’s food is never eaten but is rather thrown away or left to rot, Tesco says. Because of Tesco’s scale as it buys, moves and sells food, the company says it can track down waste, finding where it happens, “from the farmer’s field to the customer’s fridge,” according to the company’s new Tesco and Society Report 2013.
Tesco plans to tackle food waste in three key areas: its own operations, in agriculture and its supply chain, and with its own customers.The company says 32% of food is wasted across its value chain, with 16% coming from agriculture and supply chain, less than 1% coming from the retailer, and 16% coming from the customer.
The company is developing a new measurement for the amount of food wasted in its operations, which can be used consistently across all markets and will allow them to track progress over time. Tesco commits to publishing baseline data on this by the end of the year.
Tesco says its food waste in the UK is lower than in other markets, so it plans to develop a blueprint based on best practices in the UK and to share it with operations around the world. In Hungary and Malaysia, Tesco is piloting a system developed in the UK for more accurate forecasting when promotions on specific foods are run. If successful, it will be rolled out to stores in all countries.
The company claims a strong track record of waste management for itself, and says that now its ambition is to “build on this to lead in reducing food waste throughout the value chain — in fields, farms, distribution, transports, stores, and customers’ homes.” The company also vows to be more transparent about the levels of food waste across its value chain.