Tesco customers join war on 6.6m tonne food waste

tesco 414Tesco is urging customers to take drastic action to combat the UK’s 6.6 million-tonne food waste mountain in a trial which will see a select few rummage through their kitchen bins to weigh how much grub they are chucking away each week.

The move is the result of a new partnership between the supermarket giant and environmental charity Hubbub, which kicks off with 55 households embarking on a six-week ‘No Time for Waste Challenge’.

During the trial, customers  will receive advice on meal planning and food storage, along with recipe guidance for using up leftovers.

It is hoped that the results will be rolled out to all Tesco customers, giving them top tips and practical steps to help cut food waste, which on top of its negative environmental impact, typically costs a family of four about £60 a month. The UK has signed up to a global sustainable target of halving food waste by 2030.

The move coincides with a dramatic change in the UK’s shopping and cooking habits, fuelled by the coronavirus pandemic.

In a survey of 2,000 adults, Tesco found that more than two-thirds (67%) now feel differently about food, with almost a third (29%) saying the Covid-19 outbreak had made them value food more.

It also revealed that over a third (35%) of people said they had reduced their food waste during lockdown and three-quarters (75%) said they had kept this up since restrictions were lifted.

Over three-fifths (61%) were cooking with leftovers every week, while another third (32%) were planning meals and almost a quarter (22%) were batch-cooking and freezing more.

Only 3% of those who cut food waste during lockdown said they did not plan to continue these new habits in future.

Tesco head of food waste campaigns Mark Little said: “At Tesco we are committed to ensuring no good food goes to waste across the supply chain, and to helping customers reduce waste in their homes.

“Lockdown has led to a huge change in people’s relationship with food, with many more of us taking steps to reduce waste at home. We are working with Hubbub to better understand how we can help customers keep up these changes for the long term.”

Hubbub creative partner and head of food Aoife Allen added: “Lockdown has driven the biggest change to the nation’s food habits in generations, and many of us have experienced shortages for the first time. But we’ve also seen a real shift with people valuing their food more, wasting less, and developing a new relationship with food.

“The ‘No Time For Waste Challenge’ is packed with activities to help people hold on to new cooking habits and make the most of all the food they buy.”

This is Tesco’s second charity partnership in as many months. In August, the supermarket’s mobile phone division launched a two-year scheme with Crisis, as part of its ‘Reconnects’ programme, in which it aims to donate £2.4m worth of phones, devices and connectivity to 13,000 of the UK’s most vulnerable people by 2023.

In the first year of the partnership, Tesco Mobile will donate £700,000 worth of devices, while also urging customers to donate their old smartphones to the cause.

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