Tesco today announced its new charity initiative designed to make sure “no food that can be eaten” at a Tesco store will go to waste.
The “Community Food Connection”, in collaboration with Fareshare FoodCloud, will see Tesco redirecting millions of meals to those in need. The plan, according to CEO Dave Lewis, is to have the initiative covering all Tesco stores by the end of 2017.
“We believe no food that could be eaten should be wasted – that’s why we have committed that no surplus food should go to waste from our stores,” said Lewis.
“We know it’s an issue our customers really care about, and wherever there’s surplus food at Tesco stores, we’re committed to donating it to local charities so we can help feed people in need.”
The announcement follows a “farm to fork” commitment by Tesco designed to tackle food waste from suppliers.
Lewis’ has been working to improve Tesco’s reputation, as well as its finances, since taking over the company during the 2014 accounting scandal. Lewis is himself was recently appointed the chair of the Champions 12.3, a coalition of governments, businesses, international organisations, research institutions and civil societies that tackles food waste around the world.
Lewis’ scheme will be nationwide: over the next few months it will be rolled out to Leeds, Leicester, Kent and the West Midlands, and by the end of 2016 all Tesco’s large stores, of which there are over 800, should be connected to it.
Food waste is hot topic right now. France recently implemented a law that forbids supermarkets from throwing away unsold food, and there is a petition with over 150,000 signatures for an equivalent in the UK. British retailers and wholesalers waste over 200,000 tonnes of food every year, yet Tesco is the only UK retailer that publishes transparent food data from its own operations.
Once fully developed, Tesco believes Community Food Connection can be an “industry standard platform to make a real difference to local charities and communities.”
Tesco and Fareshare FoodCloud are calling out for charities and community groups to join and take advantage of the scheme.