UK grocer combats food waste by changing business strategy

When reviewing the cost of merchandise inventory for food manufacturers and grocery chains, food waste is a major problem that drives up expenses. The international supermarket Tesco, based in the U.K., aims to reduce business costs by controlling food waste, according to Waste Management World.

Tesco has a payroll of 530,000 employees and operates in several markets, including the U.S. and China in addition to the U.K., according to Tesco's site.

After publishing numbers for food waste in the U.K., the grocery chain said it had 28,500 tons of food waste in the first half of 2013 and was combating food waste by changing its retail strategy. For example, Tesco said it was taking off labels for "display until" dates for fresh fruit and vegetables.

Tesco fights waste all the way from farm to consumer

In addition to educating consumers using tips for food storage, Tesco is combining technology and training in a global effort to stop food waste, BBC reported. Tesco is putting an end to multi-buys on bags of salad in its effort to preserve produce.

"We've all got a responsibility to tackle food waste and there is no quick-fix single solution," said Matt Simister, commercial director of group food at Tesco. "Little changes can make a big difference, like storing fruit and veg​etables in the right way." 

An estimated 15 million tons of food were thrown out in the U.K. in 2010, according to Waste and Resources Action Program (Wrap). More recent figures for 2012 are expected to be released in November. With knowledge that a fifth of bananas are wasted, Tesco is installing a new temperature control system to prevent spoilage during transportation as well as trainining employees to teach customers how to make bananas last longer. Richard Swannell, director of Wrap, praised Tesco's holistic approach to preventing food waste.

According to the Tesco study, which provides insight into the amount of food waste for the U.K.'s 25 best-selling products, 40 percent of apples are wasted and a little under half of baked goods at over 600 of its stores are wasted. The supermarket firm said it will try to reduce resource waste with its suppliers, starting from the farm and ending with consumers.

"Food waste is a global issue and collaborative action is essential if we are to successfully reduce food waste and reap the financial and environmental benefits of doing so," Swannell said.

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