Thursday 22 March 2018

Tesco aims to crack down on food waste as habits change

1m tons of food dumped every year

Tesco is aiming to cut down on waste.
Tesco is aiming to cut down on waste.
Sarah McCabe

Sarah McCabe

Savvy shoppers quick to snap up discounted expired food at Tesco are in luck — the supermarket chain has begun writing down products earlier in the day, as part of a crack down on food waste.

From the way it orders bananas to “moisture atmosphere” bags for potatoes and long-life packaging for beef, Tesco Ireland is investing heavily in reducing food waste. The volume of food surplus at its stores is down 5pc as a result.

The company unveiled the measures at the launch of its partnership with Foodcloud, an app devised by Trinity College Dublin students to disperse unused food from Tesco outlets to charities.

Tesco has invested €250,000 into the app, though expects the project to be cost neutral as it should cancel out some of the costs of disposing food.

Food most likely to expire quickly, fruits and vegetables, have been particularly targeted. One of the biggest offenders in terms of wasted food is packaged lettuce, which often goes bad before consumers can finish the bag.

To address this the chain has called an end to “buy one get one free” promotions for packaged salad. Instead customers can apply the offer across a range of vegetables, to minimise over-buying.

Its UK counterpart has gone even further, rolling out “bags within bags” for packaged lettuce, allowing consumers to open and eat half while the remained stays sealed.

“We have invested heavily to reduce the level of surplus food,” said a company spokeswoman. “Our focus has been on improving our forecasting accuracy, better monitoring of promotions, improving reduce-to-clear — which starts earlier in the day, and less operational damage. We have also worked with suppliers to tackle many of the key issues that lead to waste.”

The ordering process for bananas and grapes, which also expire quickly, has been changed too. Purchase guarantees have been given to grape suppliers, meaning they can better forecast demand, shortening the supply chain.

Food wastage in the home has also been targeted. The company is considering “modified atmosphere packaging” which could help potatoes to last longer.

Specialised packaging for beef is also being rolled out. It’s already in place for Tesco’s Finest beef range. The brand says this gives customers up to an extra five days to consume the product.

Figures from the Environmental Protection Agency show that Irish people throw away around a million tonnes of food every year, worth between €700 and €1,000 per family, despite the fact that one in 10 cannot afford nutritious meals.

Sunday Indo Business

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