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Tesco to give unsold food to charity

Tesco has launched a scheme which could hand thousands of tonnes of surplus food from its stores to local charities amid rising pressure on supermarkets to reduce their waste.

The retailer has partnered with UK food redistribution charity FareShare and Irish social enterprise FoodCloud to trial the FareShare FoodCloud app in the UK. Tesco has already been working in different areas of the supply chain to tackle food waste - including through its existing partnership with FareShare - and this new scheme is aimed at eliminating the need to throw away food in Tesco stores that could otherwise be eaten.

Using the FareShare FoodCloud app, Tesco store managers will alert charities to the amount of surplus food they have at the end of each day. The charity then confirms it wants the food, picks it up free of charge from the store and turns it into meals for those in need. Beneficiaries will come from the wide range of charities FareShare works with including homeless hostels, women’s refuges and breakfast clubs for disadvantaged children.

FoodCloud is supplying its technology and expertise developed from its scheme in Ireland, while FareShare brings its knowledge of the UK charity redistribution market and its experience of providing food to an increasing network of frontline organisations that offer hot meals and other support for people in food poverty.

The scheme is already in place at Tesco stores in Ireland, and will now be piloted in ten Tesco stores around the UK.

New figures recently published reveal 55,400 tonnes of food was thrown away at Tesco stores and distribution centres in the UK over the past year, of which around 30,000 tonnes could otherwise have been eaten.

Dave Lewis, Tesco CEO said: “We don’t throw away much food in our own operations but even the 1% we do throw away amounts to 55,400 tonnes. To reduce this amount even further, we’ll be working in partnership with FareShare FoodCloud to ensure any food left unsold in our stores at the end of each day is given to local charities.

“This is potentially the biggest single step we’ve taken to cut food waste, and we hope it marks the start of eliminating the need to throw away edible food in our stores.”

Lindsay Boswell, FareShare CEO said: “FareShare already has a long standing partnership with Tesco and the development of the FareShare FoodCloud is a natural evolution of this.

“We understand that customers get angry when they see food being wasted in their local store. We do too and that is why we have spent 20 years developing our successful charity redistribution model.

“Our partnership with Tesco means we are already able to access surplus food from their supply chain, Distribution Centres and dotcoms.”

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