Following the announcement that Tesco has pledged to become the first UK retailer to eliminate avoidable food waste, Philip Simpson, commercial director at ReFood UK, discusses the need for other grocery retailers, wider industries and, most importantly, the government to take note.

Philip Simpson, commercial director at ReFood UK.

“Tesco’s food waste pledge is an impressive example of best practice for retailers to follow. Although it must be noted that other grocery giants have also implemented noteworthy efforts to tackle our growing mountain of food waste – ASDA’s ‘wonky veg’ incentive, Sainsbury’s ‘Waste Less, Save More’ commitment and the M&S ‘Plan A’, to name but a few – it is important to maintain this momentum and celebrate national innovation to divert food waste from landfill.

“In other countries, such as Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland and France, food waste innovation is rife. From legislation banning the landfilling of edible food waste to a whole host of industry-led best practice initiatives, we can learn a lot from our European counterparts. As Tesco’s chief executive, Dave Lewis, states, the topic of food waste has been discussed at length for quite some time now. To see real action taking place is a great step in the right direction.

“The grocery sector has become somewhat of a trailblazer when it comes food waste minimisation and ReFood is delighted to see this happening. For these initiatives to have real impact, however, other industries must take note and follow suit. If the government commits to supporting this drive, we could realise a fundamental step-change in our endeavors as a nation to tackle the national food waste crisis.

“In fact, with grocery businesses stepping up to the plate, the onus now is on the government not only to support this incentive, but to ban food waste altogether.”


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