21st October 2013

Tesco has the food waste problem in the bag

By Hannah Ingram on Monday October 21, 2013

Fair play to Tesco. After the horrendous horse meat scandal comes the food waste issue, which the company is tackling head on.

Today’s papers have been littered with the fact that the supermarket chain threw away almost 30,000 tonnes of food in the first six months of the year.

A bold statement to come out and make, but also a potential stroke of genius.

Tesco has used its own research and industry-wide figures to estimate that 68% of salad sold in bags across the UK food industry was wasted – 35% of which was thrown out by customers.

Yes, salad isn’t the most exciting food stuff and I bet the percentages wouldn’t be as high for less perishable goods, like chocolate for example. And other yummy stuff.

But still, our mate Tesco is doing its bit to reduce the amount of food thrown away by its own staff and its customers, by introducing measures to reduce wastage, including developing promotions for smaller bags of salad.

Matt Simister, Tesco’s commercial director of group food, said there was “no quick-fix single solution” to tackling food waste.

“Families are wasting an estimated £700 a year and we want to help them keep that money in their pockets, rather than throwing it in the bin,” he said.

“We’re playing our part too and making changes to our processes and in store.

“Ending multi-buy promotions on large packs of bagged salads is one way we can help, but this is just the start and we’ll be reviewing what else we can do.”

This has sparked the long-running debate about multi-buys and whether they actually save you money or just fill up your bin quicker.

As someone in the process of buying her first house (growingup.com) I can’t help feeling like we could all shop smarter – and not just with smaller bags of salad.

It’s been said millions of times, but I will be doing my food shopping with a list of things I actually NEED and trying not to go on the rampage with a grumbling tummy, throwing all kinds of multipacks into my trolley (and opening them before even making it to the till).

I’m glad Tesco is taking some of the burden on its shoulders and is looking out for the consumer more than its profits on this occasion, instead of pushing prices and promotions onto us.

Then again, maybe we just need the willpower to say NO to buying big bags of salad.

Oh, what a chore that would be…