Tesco launches new supply chain initiative for fresher produce

By Frazer Jones
UK supermarket giant Tesco is making some changes to its supply chain, in the name of both efficiency and better quality products for its consumers. A n...

UK supermarket giant Tesco is making some changes to its supply chain, in the name of both efficiency and better quality products for its consumers. A new initiative from the supermarket chain promises to get produce to shelves two days sooner than before, which means fresher food and a major reduction in food waste.

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According to a profile in The Guardian, Tesco plans to achieve this new efficiency by cutting a food packaging stage from its supply chain, an efficiency made possible by improved storage technology that allows Tesco to have produce shipped directly from produce suppliers to its stores without the need for an extra packing step. Tesco commented to the Guardian about how its decision will benefit its consumer base:

“For millions of our customers this move will mean having up to an extra two days in which to enjoy some of the most popular fruit and vegetables”, said Matt Simister, commercial director of food at Tesco. “The extra days of freshness will particularly benefit customers who are pressed for time and will mean they are less likely to throw away food.”


But the decision is about more than just consumers. Food waste has been a huge concern for Tesco, and in 2013 the chain revealed its food waste statistics to consumers in an effort to increase transparency and start a conversation on how to do better. Since then, the grocer has been looking into a variety of ways to solve the problem.

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How will simplifying the supply chain help? Dr. Richard Swannell, director of sustainable food systems for the UK government’s Waste and Resources Reduction Action Programme (WRAP), explained to The Guardian that bringing fresh produce to market more quickly could make a significant difference in the amount of food waste that is thrown out on a daily basis:

“Our report estimates some 250,000 tonnes of food waste could be prevented by a one day increase in product life – food wasted by households and by the supply chain. Preventing this volume of waste means UK shoppers have a potential shared saving of up to £500 million a year.”


In other words, this supply chain revamp is an important step for Tesco in its mission to decrease food waste, and could inspire other chains to start looking at their own supply chains to start making sustainability-minded changes of their own.

[SOURCE: The Guardian]


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