The UK’s largest supermarket chain Tesco has pledged that, by 2017, it will donate all leftover food from its stores to charity.
“We believe no food that could be eaten should be wasted – that’s why we have committed that no surplus food should go to waste from our stores,” said Tesco CEO, Dave Lewis in a statement.
“We know it’s an issue our customers really care about, and wherever there’s surplus food at Tesco stores, we’re committed to donating it to local charities so we can help feed people in need.
The nationwide scheme – Community Food Connection with FareShare FoodCloud – is being launched this week in 15 cities and regions across the UK including Manchester, Birmingham, Southampton and Portsmouth.
In the coming months the initiative will be rolled out to Leeds, Leicester, Kent and the West Midlands. Tesco has said it will reach all large Tesco stores – numbering over 800 – by the end of 2016, with all stores covered by the end of 2017.
The scheme has already been piloted in fourteen Tesco stores over the past six months and has generated over 22 tonnes of food – the equivalent to 50,000 meals.
Tesco and FareShare are calling out for 5,000 charities and community groups to join up and receive free surplus food through the scheme, as part of a huge nationwide charity recruitment drive.
The scheme will be in place in all Tesco stores by the end of 2017, which means thousands of charities all over the country will benefit from millions of pounds worth of surplus food each year.
“We are delighted to be offering our store level solution in partnership with Tesco who are demonstrating real leadership in tackling food surplus,” commented Lindsay Boswell, FareShare CEO.