By Michael Somerville - 09:54AM - Mon 21st October 2013
Supermarket giant Tesco has revealed it will end some promotions as it seeks to improve its food waste figures.
The worlds third largest retailer, which announced a 23.5 per cent plummet in profits for the first half of the year, will end multi-buys on large bags of salad after it threw away 28,500 tonnes of food in-store and in distribution centres in the first six months of the year.
It is also developing mix-and-match promotions for smaller bags.
Becoming the first major UK retailer to publish its own total food waste figures, Tesco found that 68 per cent of all bagged salads end up in the bin.
Matt Simister, Tesco Commercial Director of Group Food, said: “We’ve all got a responsibility to tackle food waste and there is no quick-fix single solution.
“(Ending promotions on multi-bag salads) 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.”
Tesco estimate that families are wasting £700 a year by throwing away out-of date food and say they are taking measures to help customers to save food including sharing tips with customers on storing apples to help them last longer, how to use leftover bread and how to ensure bananas last longer.
Jon Copestake, Retail Analyst at The Economist Intelligence Unit said the ‘sobering figures’ reflected ‘a culture of waste that has evolved and accelerated over the last few decades in the UK and other mature markets.’
“Part of the problem lies firmly with retail practices of bulk discounting, selling in pre-packaged amounts and developing wider ranges to promote choice at the expense of efficiency,” he explained.
“However, much responsibility also lies with consumer attitudes as time-poor shoppers and a rising number of single person households mean that significant amounts of fresh goods that are bought remain unused.
“Many shoppers also mistakenly adhere to ‘display until’, ‘sell by’ or ‘best before’ dates which can often mean disposing of perfectly edible products.”
Six months ago the retailer set food waste as one of its three ‘Big Ambitions’ and Chief Executive Philip Clarke will give an update on the progress it is making at the Global Green Growth Forum in Copenhagen today.
Richard Swannell, Director of Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) said: “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.”
The figures revealed that salads, apples, bakery items, grapes and bananas are the most wasted items.