Tesco’s food waste blunder: Figures corrected from 45% to just 18%

Tesco is correcting its food waste reduction figures from 45% to 18% after admitting tens of thousands of tonnes of food waste it claimed to send for animal feed has secretly been sent to anaerobic digestion.

“While anaerobic digestion can have a role in recovery of energy and avoids food going to landfill, under the food waste hierarchy, we count food going to anaerobic digestion as waste,” said Tesco group quality, technical and sustainability director Claire Lorains.

The Grocer reported that the revelation came from an audit carried out towards the end of 2023 and has started an investigation and as a result, terminated the contractor of its food waste processor but not revealed more details about the company.

“As we had worked with our former processor over a number of years, we believe it is right to exclude animal feed from our data,” added Lorains.

“We are therefore withdrawing our previously reported food waste data, and we expect our reduction this year will be similarly affected.”

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The supermarket has now corrected its food waste reduction figure across its group operations from a claimed fall of 45% from 2016 to 2017 to 2022 to 2023, to just 18%.

Last year, Tesco boss Ken Murphy called on the government and retailers to focus on food waste data following the supermarket revealing it hasn’t sent any food to landfill since 2009.

A Tesco spokesperson told The Grocer that “transparency has been key to driving our food waste reduction progress”.

“That’s why we support food waste reporting and being held to account for our progress, but also why we are upfront when we uncover an issue such as with animal feed.”

Food and farmingNewsRetailSectorsSupply Chain

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