Tesco supermarkets — the biggest grocery chain in the United Kingdom — will start giving away unsold food to non-profit organizations instead of throwing it out.
Food waste is a big problem, not only in the U.K., but all over the world, and Tesco is starting a new initiative to change that. A few of its stores will begin giving away their unsold food to non-profit organizations, according to Reuters.
This comes just days after France’s government got involved and parliament voted to stop big grocery stores from wasting food. This will lead to the businesses giving to charities or farms instead of throwing it away.
Ten Tesco supermarkets will start giving away food they would otherwise dispose of to women’s centers and children’s breakfast clubs. The move is an effort to combat worldwide hunger.
Dave Lewis, Tesco chief executive, explained the reasoning behind the decision to give away the food to those who need it.
“This is potentially the biggest single step we’ve taken to cut food waste. We hope it marks the start of eliminating the need to throw away edible food in our stores.”
The United Nations Environment Program states that food waste is not only a hunger problem affecting poor countries in Africa, but it has serious effects on the environment.
“The impact of food waste is not just financial. Environmentally, food waste leads to wasteful use of chemicals such as fertilizers and pesticides; more fuel used for transportation; and more rotting food, creating more methane – one of the most harmful greenhouse gases that contributes to climate change.”
Tesco supermarkets start this initiative at a time when they face some financial difficulties and after being declared “Britain’s least favorite grocer,” in a recent survey of 6,800 people, according to a report in the Telegraph.
“Tesco is the UK’s least favorite grocer, a new survey has found.
In the latest blow to the troubled supermarket, Tesco ranked at the bottom of a list of eight grocery chains that included, in ascending order, the Co-operative, Asda, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s, Aldi, Marks and Spencer and Waitrose in the top spot.”
Tesco supermarkets said a staggering 30,000 tons of perishable foods such as bread, fruit, vegetables, and sandwiches were thrown away at its stores and distribution centers over the past year. However, this is a problem for all other grocers in the nation.
Tesco supermarkets will use an app to alert U.K. and Irish charitable organizations to the amounts of leftover foods available each day. They will then hand the food to those able to collect it free of charge.
[Photo by Jeff J Mitchell / Getty Images]