32,000 tonnes of food waste at Asda

30 September 2019

Asda has revealed almost 32,000 tonnes of food waste was generated in its operations in 2018 as it increases transparency around the issue.

Data published by the supermarket detailed the level of waste created by Asda stores, depots and its head office in 2018. 

Fruit and vegetables made up 23% of the retailer’s total food waste, with chilled products and dairy (16%) and bakery and ambient packaged products (15%) among the most wasted produce.

While 31,883 tonnes of surplus food was recorded by Asda, over 90% of the supermarket’s waste was diverted to be used in a process called anaerobic digestion, which generates energy.

Asda also revealed it increased the amount of food it donated to charities by 26% in 2018, to approximately 2.7m meals. 

The retailer added it encouraged its own-brand label and 150 branded suppliers to target, measure and act on reducing food waste, and redistributing surplus where it does occur.

The data was published to demonstrate progress on Asda’s goal to reduce food waste by 20% by 2025, and halve it by 2030.

Karen Todd, senior manager, Zero Waste at Asda, said: “Tackling food waste has to be a collaborative effort and we’ve been working hard, in partnership with our suppliers, colleagues and our customers, to meet our commitments to halve food waste by 2030 and make a positive difference to our communities. 

“We think it’s really important that we share our food waste data publicly to allow others to understand our progress and I’m delighted that we’ve been able to increase the amount of food reaching good causes.”

David Moon, head of business collaboration at WRAP, said: “Measuring food waste is fundamental to understanding why it occurs and identifying the priority actions to effectively reduce it. Taking action to publicly report for the first time demonstrates Asda’s long-term focus on tackling food waste in an efficient and transparent manner.”

Earlier this month, Asda revealed it was trialling a plant-based coating for fruits and vegetables which could reduce food waste and cut the need for plastic packaging. 

Separately, it was revealed food waste collected in Edinburgh each month could create enough electricity to power 1.75m kettles.

Up to 700 tonnes of food waste is collected in the city and sent to a processing facility in Millerhill. The waste is processed by anaerobic digester, creating solid and liquid fertiliser to be used on farmland and gas for electricity. 

Environment convener Councillor Lesley Macinnes said: “Reducing consumption is clearly the very first step we need to master, but when we do have leftover food waste it's important to recycle it. 

“Recycling your food waste is really so simple to do but it makes an enormous difference. Every ton of food waste can generate enough electricity to boil 2,500 kettles – and we send 700 tonness for recycling in Edinburgh each month, so that's a lot of cups of tea.”

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