Homeless hostels and women's refuges to benefit from supermarket food waste

Jun 5, 2015 at 12:30 a.m. ET

Food waste is a huge issue for supermarkets. Staggering amounts of food that is past its sell-by date but still suitable for human consumption is thrown away on a daily basis.

Most stores refuse to admit just how much food they throw away but recent figures published by Tesco revealed that the company threw away 55,400 tonnes of food over the last year, of which around 30,000 tonnes was perfectly edible.

This week Tesco CEO Dave Lewis announced that the company was taking its food waste prevention measures a step further in an attempt to reduce these figures.

Tesco will team up with U.K. food redistribution charity FareShare and Irish social enterprise FoodCloud to trial the FareShare FoodCloud app in the U.K. Tesco staff members will be able to use the app to provide local charities with the type and quantity of surplus food the store has at the end of each day. Charities such as homeless hostels, women's refuges and disadvantaged children's breakfast clubs will then be able to choose what food they would like and collect it free of charge.

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Tesco's announcement comes only weeks after France took a more radical approach to food waste making it illegal for large supermarkets to throw away edible food. The scheme will be piloted in 10 Tesco stores in the U.K. and is already underway in two Irish stores.

With at least half a million Brits estimated to have used a food bank last year there's no doubt that this is the most sustainable, responsible way to deal with supermarket food waste. Let's hope other big stores follow suit.

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