We all know that food surplus is a major global challenge. Around one third of the world’s food is never eaten – it’s thrown away or left to rot. In Ireland alone, roughly one million tonnes of food is wasted every year. This puts pressure on land and natural resources, and causes the unnecessary emission of greenhouse gases. It also adds significant unnecessary costs.
At Tesco, we buy, move and sell food – it’s what we do and we do it at scale, all over the world. This means we can find out where waste happens, and why. We can track down waste – from the farmer’s field to the customer’s fridge. For these reasons, we want to play a leading role in reducing food surplus.
Here in Ireland, we are initially placing the emphasis on getting our own house in order. We have put in place two initiatives that are putting us at the forefront of addressing this challenge.
We launched a ground-breaking partnership with FoodCloud in July 2014 that will see all edible surplus food from our stores redistributed to charities and community groups nationwide through the use of the innovative new FoodCloud app.
Our partnership with FoodCloud follows a successful pilot programme in 18 of our stores which ran from October 2013 to February 2014 and saw us donate almost 60,000 meals or 27 tonnes of food to 38 charities.
So far we have donated over 3,000,000 meals to more than 200 charities right across Ireland.
BiaFi is a charity that helps to transfer large amounts of surplus food from food-related businesses to local charities.
With our help, at the end of November 2014, BiaFi opened Ireland’s first large scale food redistribution centre based in Cork. BiaFi expects to redistribute up to 3,000 tonnes of surplus food annually to needy people in the greater Munster region.
We’ve pledged to donating any food surplus generated from our distribution centres to BiaFi and this includes long life coded products such as pasta and rice.
As well as financially supporting Bia’s establishment, more importantly, we have been sharing our expertise to ensure that Bia is set up using first class distribution systems and practices and is able to operate efficiently and safely. This has involved one of our senior Operations Manager working with Bia to advise on best practice for stock management as well as warehousing codes of practice particularly in relation to Health and Safety. Our operations team will work with Bia on an ongoing basis to support the day-to-day operations of the Bia distribution centre.
Through the BiaFi centre in Cork, we forecast that we will donate between 7 and 10 tonnes of food from our own depots. Annually this equates to over 10,000 meals.