Tesco has this week launched a pilot FoodCloud programme at 10 of its UK stores, following on from the success of the food redistribution scheme in Ireland.
Last July, Tesco Ireland committed to donating all of its surplus food to local charities through a partnership with the FoodCloud social enterprise.
Set up by Iseult Ward and Aoibheann O’Brien, FoodCloud connects businesses with surplus food to local charities that need it through its technology platform and app.
The app allows store managers to alert local charities of the amount of surplus food they have at the end of each day. The charities then collect the food, free of charge.
In the last 12 months FoodCloud has signed up over 100 stores and 300 charities across Ireland, redistributing 431 tonnes of food, the equivalent of almost 1 million meals to charities and community groups.
The partnership between Tesco Ireland and FoodCloud has seen over 920,000 meals donated to date to local Irish charities.
Tesco has now partnered with UK food redistribution charity FareShare and FoodCloud to trial the FareShare-FoodCloud app in the UK.
Tesco said FoodCloud will be supplying its technology and expertise developed from the scheme in Ireland, while FareShare will bring its knowledge of the UK charity redistribution market and its experience of providing food to a network of frontline organisations that offer hot meals and other support for people in food poverty.
FareShare provides food to more than 1,923 local charities and community organisations across the UK.
Some 55,400 tonnes of food was thrown away at Tesco stores and distribution centres in the UK over the past year, of which around 30,000 tonnes could have been eaten.
“We don’t throw away much food in our own operations but even the 1pc we do throw away amounts to 55,400 tonnes,” said Tesco CEO, Dave Lewis.
“To reduce this amount even further, we’ll be working in partnership with FareShare-FoodCloud to ensure any food left unsold in our stores at the end of each day is given to local charities.
“This is potentially the biggest single step we’ve taken to cut food waste, and we hope it marks the start of eliminating the need to throw away edible food in our stores.”