Tesco pledges to end edible food waste by March 2018 | Environment

Tesco is to become the only UK retailer to no longer waste food fit for human consumption.

The company’s chief executive, Dave Lewis, has urged other supermarket chains to follow Tesco’s lead and adopt the changes that it will implement by March 2018.

“Food waste has been talked about for years, but if Tesco can make this work, with all of our different stores across the country, then why can’t everyone?” said Lewis in an interview with the Telegraph.

“So long as that food is fit for human consumption, I’d much prefer it to go to people than landfill, or animal feed or fuel,” he said.

Thousands of people in the UK are increasingly reliant on food banks, the use of which has increased fourfold since 2012. Yet UK households threw away 7.3m tonnes of food in 2015, according to the environment, food and rural affairs committee.

Tesco uses an app, FoodCloud, developed by two Trinity College Dublin graduates, to itemise the surplus food in each store at the end of the day. This information is then shared with local charities that collect the food.

“That goes a long way in reducing charities’ bill burdens, so they can spend the money on other things, like the cost of housing two more addicts, or providing much more needed services,” Lewis said.

Along with all the other major UK supermarkets, Tesco has signed the Courtauld Commitment 2025, a voluntary agreement to cut food waste by 20% by within a decade.

“In retail there will always be some surplus food,” Lewis said. “No matter how sophisticated the ordering systems are, it will be impossible to perfectly match the supply and demand for every one of our shops, 365 days a year, when there’s so much volatility.”