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25 Oct 2013

Our influencer this week – Tesco

Posted on October 25, 2013 by

This week’s influencer accolade goes to supermarket giant, Tesco. Why? At the start of the week it did something pretty unusual for a supermarket in an attempt to influence suppliers and farmers, us as consumers and its own behaviour.

It released a report into exactly how much waste food we throw out every month. And instead of simply blaming customers, who are wasting an estimated £700 per year throwing away food or farmers who lose16 per cent of all food produced for Tesco because of quality standards and the changes in demand, the supermarket has taken some of the blame itself.

It has announced it will now begin reducing the amount of multibuy offers, removing “display until” dates from fresh fruit and vegetables and introduce Grade 2 listed fruit and veg (ugly fruit and veg), which might have not made it onto the shelf before, to start tackling the issue.

For a supermarket to come out and take responsibility for an issue like this is definitely something new, and after the recent horsemeat scandal which left Tesco looking a bit of a mare (couldn’t resist the pun), this was risky territory. By declaring the amount of food it’s wasting, Tesco could have seemed, once again, socially irresponsible, and given this is a year when the number of people relying on food banks to survive has tripled, the campaign could have completely backfired. But that was a risk it was willing to take…and it appears to have done it some good.

Tesco has even got WRAP, an organisation which looks to tackle the food wasting issue, on board and is using its 25 best-selling products data to give an overall food waste “footprint” for each item.

Since the story landed, it has sparked blanket coverage in the likes of the Independent which argued it’s not just the fault of supermarkets, it’s ours as consumers. And with half of the country’s waste coming from the home, it is undeniably something that needs to be addressed, so hats off Tesco for making the first move!

Whether this announcement and the new changes to Tesco’s famous BOGOF offers will drive its customers to change supermarkets is uncertain, but it has certainly got people talking about food waste and what they can do to help.


Whilst Tesco is attempting to influence us as consumers to consider how we might alter our own food purchasing habits, it has taken the brave move of being the first to change. And this will ultimately have a knock on effect. With the demand for the excess fruit and veg being reduced, it will change the quantities farmers are producing, so is essentially attacking the issue right from the start of the chain.

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