The move comes as the supermarket releases food waste figures for its business for the first time, revealing that 68 per cent of bagged salad is thrown out, with 35 per cent of that wastage occurring at home.
Overall, Tesco claims 28,500 tonnes of food was wasted in it stores and distribution centres in the first six months of the year alone. That includes 40 per cent of apples, half of bakery items, a quarter of grapes and one in five bananas.
In response to the data, Tesco is planning an overhaul of its fruit and bread aisles to promote a faster turnover of produce and cut down on in-store waste. It will rearrange 600 in-store bakeries to reduce the amount of bread on display, display fruit and vegetables in smaller cases and remove “display until” dates.
Customers will be educated on how to reduce waste, with Tesco offering tips such as how to use leftover bread and store apples and bananas to make them last longer. Tesco is also working with producers and suppliers to develop new fruit and vegetable varieties that last longer and shorten the time it takes to get food from the field to stores.
Tackling food waste is one of Tesco’s three “big ambitions”, alongside creating opportunities for young people and encouraging customers and colleagues to lead healthier lives. Earlier this year it launched a major campaign against food waste, promising to offer products in smaller sizes and tailor promotions to stop encouraging customers to buy large amounts of food with a short shelf life that they then throw away.
On average, families throw out £700 worth of food a year, according to the Waste and Resources Action programme. The organisation also estimates that 15 million tonnes of food is wasted annually in the UK.
Matt Simister, commercial director of group food at Tesco, says: “We’ve all got a responsibility to tackle food waste and there is no quick-fix single solution. Little changes can make a big difference, like storing fruit and veg in the right way.
“We’re playing our part too and making changes to our processes and in store. This is just the start and we’ll be reviewing what else we can do. We’re working with our suppliers to try to cut waste at all stages of the journey from farm to fork.”