Tesco reacted to a strawberry glut last summer by introducing large boxes to its stores ©Solent News & Photo Agency/Tesco PLC
Tesco reacted to a strawberry glut last summer by introducing large boxes to its stores ©Solent News & Photo Agency/Tesco PLC

Tesco sets up supplier hotline to cut food waste

Tesco has set up a hotline for suppliers to contact it directly about food waste.

Suppliers and growers who call the line will be connected directly to the retailer’s product teams so they can be alerted to waste in the supply chain. Tesco hopes this will help identify hotspots and improve collaboration with suppliers.

The hotline is part of a commitment by Tesco to help halve global per capita food waste by 2035, part of the UN Sustainable Development Goal 12. “The food waste hotline is another little help we are making [sic] to achieve this with our suppliers,” said Matt Simister, commercial director of fresh food and commodities at the supermarket.

“It helps our suppliers gain direct, easy access to our product teams, and this will enable us to identify food waste hotspots and systemic issues and work in partnership to tackle them.”

Tesco said it worked with suppliers last summer to avoid a wasted strawberry crop when warmer-than-forecast weather caused the fruits to ripen. “Tesco’s response was to take the whole crop and introduce large boxes of strawberries to stores at a market leading price, helping customers and avoiding food waste on farm,” the supermarket said. “The hotline will provide another way for this to continue.”

About 45% of food waste in the UK comes occurs in the supply chain, according to sustainability charity WRAP, and Tesco is not the only company trying to reduce food waste here. In January Asda launched an online market place where suppliers could swap or sell unwanted food products in its attempt to reduce waste.

Tesco’s £3.7bn merger with the wholesaler Booker announced earlier this year is also expected to help reduce food waste. The combined group will open up more routes to market for suppliers meaning “fuller crop procurement and utilisation which will help reduce food waste”, the retailer said at the time.

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