Tesco takes steps to further reduce UK food waste

Software developer TAAP has produced a Food Surplus Application, aimed at reducing the disposal of surplus food in the retail sector, which is currently being deployed by Tesco. 

The system integrates the supermarket’s charity partners, FareShare and FoodCloud. The organisations were set up to distribute surplus food, including meat, to those who are most in need of it. According to Tesco, the average British family with children throws away £700-worth of food every year. In addition, last year it threw away 30,000 tonnes of food that could have been eaten, equivalent to 70 million meals.

TAAP’s Food Surplus Application was first implemented and deployed to test stores during Christmas 2015, and is now being rolled out to larger Tesco stores. The aim is to have completed the roll-out by the end of the year.

“We were very pleased to be selected to support Tesco in delivering this socially responsible project,” said Steve Higgon, chief executive of TAAP.

The system is available to all food retailers and can be used to query a product, pricing and waste services. This provides an audit trail and definite record of which organisations received what surplus products.

Bar-code scanners on mobile devices are used to produce the data. Upon scanning, the retail user indicates if the item can be donated to charity or if it is excluded.

Donations are then posted and accepted by FoodCloud. Once they have been accepted, the Food Surplus Application builds a ‘virtual basket’ into which the retailers can scan each product to record a complete audit trail of which items have been donated and to whom. The information is passed back to FoodCloud, when Tesco can mark the product as ‘waste’.

Managers are able to keep up to date with a product’s status, being notified as to when a donation has occurred, when the product has been wasted because the charity hasn’t collected an item, or when it has been collected.

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