Tesco is to become the only UK retailer to no longer waste food fit for human consumption.
The supermarket giant has pledged to ensure that no edible food will be wasted in its UK stores by the end of February.
The company’s chief executive, Dave Lewis, said food waste had been “talked about for years” and urged other supermarket chains to follow Tesco’s lead and adopt the changes that it will implement in its 2,654 stores.
Mr Lewis added that the amount of food that is currently wasted is “really stark”.
“Food waste has been talked about for years, but if Tesco can make this work, with all of our different stores across the country, then why can’t everyone?” said Lewis in an interview with the Daily Telegraph.
Like all major UK supermarkets, Tesco has signed a voluntary commitment to cut food waste by one-fifth within a decade in what is known as the Courtauld Commitment 2025.
Many supermarkets have introduced initiatives to tackle waste, for instance, the East of England Co-op recent became the first major retailer to sell food beyond its “best before” dates.
Tesco has said that after initially discounting any surplus stock in store with ‘reduced to clear’ stickers, the supermarket will donate items that have not been sold at the end of the day to local charities. Including pre-schools, woman’s refuge centres, rehab clinics and youth centres.
The UK throws away 8.1mn tons of food a year, according to the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee.