Supermarket giant Tesco produced a total of 46,684 tonnes of food waste across its UK operations including stores and distribution centres in 2016/17 – figures published on 15 May have suggested.

This represents an increase of around 4,004 tonnes compared to the previous year, the figures published in the supermarket giant’s annual report indicate.

Tesco produced a total of 46,684 tonnes of food waste across its UK operations in 2016/17

According to the report, a total of 38,696 tonnes of surplus food was considered safe for human consumption. Of this, 5,700 tonnes were donated to redistribution organisations; 16,605 tonnes went to animal feed, and 16,391 tonnes went to anaerobic digestion and energy recovery.

In total, the supermarket chain sent 36,653 tonnes of food waste to anaerobic digestion in 2016/17, as well as over 8,000 tonnes to energy recovery. None of the chain’s food waste was sent to landfill.


Tesco said: “Overall, the proportion of food wasted against the total weight of food products sold in Tesco’s UK stores is 0.5%

“Our first priority is to reduce surplus food by working with our supplier partners. Where surplus exists, we look to donate this to people in need. Our donations have increased from 2,303 tonnes last year to 5,700 tonnes in 2016/17 – an increase of 148%.

“At our current rate of donations, we are on track to donate over 11,700 tonnes next year.”

And, the retailer, which was the first major supermarket chain in the UK to publish data on its food waste generation has also revealed that it has changed the way it will report data in an effort to be more “transparent”.

As well as sharing a breakdown by product category of where food waste is arising, Tesco is also sharing a breakdown of its 2016/17 food surplus and a year-on-year increase of donations.

Tesco works with food redistribution charities including FareShare to divert surplus edible food from landfill


In its annual report, which included a breakdown of the company’s progress on environmental and social policies, Tesco outlined the changes made to its food waste data, as part of a series of measures to make a positive difference to the environment and society.

The retailer said that it has made the commitment that “no food that is safe for human consumption will go to waste from our UK retail operations by the end of 2017”.

Tesco said it is rolling out its Community Food Connection programme in UK stores and using FloodCloud with Fareshare to redistribute edible surplus food to people in need. And, it has worked in partnership with producers and supplier partners to help reduce waste across the food chain.

According to Tesco, in its effort to tackle waste the retailer has worked on packaging and product innovations to extend product life, such as two portion chicken fillet packaging.

The report added: “Transparency and measurement are essential for identifying industry-wide hotspots, and in tackling the root causes of food waste.

“We need clear, category-specific measures of food waste, rather than the aggregated data currently provided by the wider retail industry.”