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Tesco expands trial of donating unsold food to UK charities

Tesco expands trial of donating unsold food to UK charities

Supermarket Tesco is expanding its trial in Ireland of donating edible but unsold food to charities to the UK.

The company has already been working with UK food redistribution charity FareShare, but the new trial, if successful, promises to see the volume of food distribute increase.

FareShare FoodCloud app

FareShare FoodCloud

The pilot is a partnership with FareShare and Irish social enterprise FoodCloud to use the FareShare FoodCloud app in the UK. The app is already in use at Tesco stores in Ireland, and will now be piloted in ten Tesco stores around the UK.

Tesco reports that 55,400 tonnes of food were wasted within its operations in the last year, around 30,000 tonnes of which could otherwise have been eaten. The trial aims to redirect that surplus food from Tesco stores to people in need. It “will mean eliminating the need to throw away food in Tesco stores that could otherwise be eaten”.

Tesco store managers will use the FareShare FoodCloud app to alert charities to the amount of surplus food they have at the end of each day. The charity then confirms it wants the food, picks it up free of charge from the store and turns it into meals for those in need.

FareShare will pass it to charities such as homeless hostels, women’s refuges and breakfast clubs for disadvantaged children. All charities will be supported by FareShare to ensure they are using this surplus food safely.


FareShare has been working with Tesco on food waste for the past three years.

Dave Lewis, Tesco CEO said:

“We don’t throw away much food in our own operations but even the 1% we do throw away amounts to 55,400 tonnes. To reduce this amount even further, we’ll be working in partnership with FareShare FoodCloud to ensure any food left unsold in our stores at the end of each day is given to local charities.

He added:

“This is potentially the biggest single step we’ve taken to cut food waste, and we hope it marks the start of eliminating the need to throw away edible food in our stores.”

Lindsay Boswell, FareShare CEO said:

“FareShare already has a long standing partnership with Tesco and the development of the FareShare FoodCloud is a natural evolution of this. We understand that customers get angry when they see food being wasted in their local store. We do too and that is why we have spent 20 years developing our successful charity redistribution model”.

Charities and community groups can register their interest in FareShare FoodCloud.

Last month the French government made it illegal for supermarkets to throw away edible food, requiring them to donate unsold edible food to charities.


Howard Lake is a digital fundraising entrepreneur. Publisher of UK Fundraising, the world's first web resource for professional fundraisers, since 1994. Trainer and consultant in digital fundraising. Founder of Fundraising Camp and co-founder of Research massive growth in giving.

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