UK retailer Tesco has redistributed 88% of its surplus food in the UK, beating its own target of 85%. The target, set in 2016, was beaten in the last year thanks largely to the supermarket’s relationships with partners including FareShare and Olio. Last year, Tesco donated more than 25 million meals via FareShare to charities and community groups.
Tesco has also been working with food-sharing app Olio since 2020. If local charities or community groups through FareShare are unable to take any surplus food, Tesco makes it available free of charge to Olio Food Waste Heroes, which goes on to redistribute it to others in their communities.
In the last 12 months, Tesco donated more than 20 million meals worth of surplus food through Olio to those in local communities who need it.
In 2022/23, Tesco donated an average of over three million meals a month to charities and communities. Its Community Food Connection scheme is the largest surplus food redistribution scheme in Europe, donating over 166m meals since 2016.
Tesco said that keeping any surplus food to a minimum remains a priority, while continuing to ensure great availability and choice for customers. It added that it follows a food waste hierarchy when deciding the right way to handle any food surplus, with food donated to people as a priority – to charities and communities via FareShare and Olio, or free-of-charge to Tesco colleagues via its ‘Colleague Shop’ initiative. Any remaining surplus is converted to pet or animal feed where possible.
Cheryl Wetherburn, food surplus project manager at Tesco, said:
“No-one wants to see good food go to waste. With so many people facing food insecurity in the UK, we are working harder than ever to make sure food gets to those who need it.”