International news: Tesco’s Colleague Shops to minimise food waste

Major UK retailer Tesco has launched Colleague Shops across its UK stores to give staff the opportunity to take food approaching its expiration date as part of the company’s wider work aimed at preventing food waste.

Dedicated storage areas and fridges will be set up in back-of-store colleague rooms to safely store food on its use-by or best-before date, so Tesco staff can help reduce food waste.

The move is part of Tesco’s drive to ensure no food safe for human consumption will go to waste in its UK retail operations by the end of 2017/18.

Tesco says Colleague Shops will form an additional part of its established approach to managing stock in-store, with the company using sophisticated systems to predict and order the amount of food that customers are expected to buy in stores.

Product prices are ‘reduced to clear’ as they approach their expiry date, to minimise surplus, so if food cannot be sold, it is offered to local charities and community food groups via Tesco’s surplus-food redistribution initiative, Community Food Connection. The company adds that since charities don’t always need everything offered to them, any food left over will now be made available to colleagues.

“We want to do everything we can to make sure perfectly good food doesn’t go to waste,” Tesco Head of Food Waste Reduction Mark Little said. “Our Colleague Shops are a win-win, providing an additional step to support our efforts to tackle food waste in our own operations and offer colleagues an extra little help at the end of their shift.”

Colleague Shops will be introduced to Tesco stores by the end of February, with surplus food initially made available for 1p ($1.75) before becoming free of charge in a few months’ time.

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