The retailer’s Annual Report reveals the net increase in food waste came predominantly from Produce, Bakery and Chilled categories.
Overall, the proportion of food wasted against the total weight of food products sold in Tesco’s UK stores was 0.5%, amounting to 46,684 tonnes.
“We are looking at these categories to better understand the reasons for this increase,” the report states.
“We need clear, category-specific measures of food waste, rather than the aggregated data currently provided by the wider retail industry.”
“Our first priority is to reduce surplus food by working with our supplier partners. Where surplus exists, we look to donate this to people in need.”
The report revealed donations to charity partners have increased from 2,303 tonnes last year to 5,700 tonnes in 2016/17 – an increase of 148%. Tesco says that at its current rate of donations, it is on track to donate over 11,700 tonnes next year.
This year, a total of 38,696 tonnes of surplus food were safe for human consumption. Of this, 5,700 tonnes were donated to people in need; 16,605 tonnes went to animal feed and 16,391 tonnes went to anaerobic digestion and energy recovery.
Its target is to ensure that no food safe for human consumption is sent for anaerobic digestion or energy recovery.
“Transparency and measurement are essential for identifying industry-wide hotspots, and in tackling the root causes of food waste,” Tesco says. “We need clear, category-specific measures of food waste, rather than the aggregated data currently provided by the wider retail industry.”
Tesco has been publishing data on UK food waste in its own operations since 2013.
Since 2009, Tesco has sent no food waste direct to landfill, and since 2015 it has provided over 6m meals for people in need.
By the end of 2017, Community Food Connection will be rolled out to all stores in the UK.