British food retailer Tesco now has a dedicated hotline for suppliers facing potential food waste, CIPS-Supply Management reported Monday. Both suppliers and growers who call the line can connect directly to the store to set up an alert regarding potential supply chain food waste.
Tesco, which recently merged with Booker, hopes to reduce food waste by 50% by 2035 as part of its commitment to UN Sustainable Development Goal 12. The hotline is a means of addressing the source of the most waste of edibles within the food supply chain.
- When a recent overabundance of strawberries occurred due to early ripening, growers were able to avoid waste by utilizing the hotline, then speeding the fruit to market, where it was immediately priced for rapid sale.
Tesco's new hotline is significant not only for the existence of the point of contact, but also the ability to recognize where potential waste and the action taken to prevent it is where the real value occurs. With 40% of food loss happening at the post-harvest stage, developing a method of waste interruption is a valuable means of drastically reducing that number.
Reverse warnings are also available when strong lines of communication exist. Under the terms of UN Sustainable Development Goal 12, a distributor receiving early warning can avoid contributing to the 1.3 billion tons of rotting food on retailers' shelves by either re-routing deliveries to another seller or even donating the unwanted product to food pantries or under-funded shelters or schools.
In the U.S., the EPA has taken on the challenge of reducing the amount of food-related waste that crowds our landfills. Under the 2030 Food Loss and Waste Reduction Goal, the organization hopes to cut waste by 50% within the next 13 years. The EPA's goals and its intended means of reaching them are listed on its website.