Tesco waste

It was a shame to see food waste campaigners turn so quickly on Tesco this week after it revealed it had failed to reach its target of eliminating all waste from its UK operations.

The fact that Tesco has fallen short of its aim, achieving only 64% of its target according to this week’s annual report, is of course disappointing. But it is also a sign of how challenging the issue of food waste is.

It is not, as campaign group Feedback is suggesting, a sign that supermarkets are “inherently wasteful”. This is the same group, remember, that only a few months ago described Tesco as the “gold standard” other retailers had to aim for.

Despite its failure, Tesco should be applauded for its industry-leading transparency on this issue. Ironically, part of its problem has been the extra waste in store caused by taking more of farmers’ crops. This has stopped them being buried back in the ground, but has caused more food to be wasted in store.

It’s just this sort of problem that needs the whole industry to work and report openly on - so that together it can find solutions.