Cauliflower waste

Tesco’s cauliflower commitment follows concerns by farmers this month that tonnes of the crop would go to waste 

Tesco has bought 220,000 extra cauliflowers from suppliers this month in an effort to reduce food waste.

The retailer will sell the cauliflowers at a reduced price of 79p compared with the usual £1, after good growing conditions led to a bumper yield in farms across the UK.

In a blog on the Tesco website, category buying manager David Daniels wrote that the retailer had been talking to its cauliflower suppliers ‘for weeks’ about how the mild winter may affect their crops, with the unseasonably good conditions accelerating the growth of cauliflowers and maturing them early.

‘We use advanced forecasting and ordering systems, but at certain times of the year our farmers see bumper crops,’ wrote Daniels. ‘The result is that they’ll have too much produce. We don’t want to see this extra produce go to waste, so we’ll take it all.’

The move follows reports earlier this month that up to £60,000 worth of cauliflowers would be ploughed up at a Kent farm while retailers bought imported varieties from Europe.

The report in The Sunday Times alleged retailers were overlooking British cauliflowers in favour of Spanish produce after Geoffrey Philpott claimed his farm in Broadstairs, Kent would see about 40 acres of the vegetable go to waste due to there being no market for his larger yield.

Richard Mowbray, vice chairman of the Brassica Growers Association, stated retailers would be “foolish” to supply their produce from the UK alone due to the vulnerability of the crop to UK weather.

But with Tesco recently ramping up its activities to tackle food waste, including launching a ‘hotline’ to aid suppliers, and signing up as an official sponsor to The Grocer’s own Waste Not Want Not campaign, the retailer was committed to ensuring “no edible food goes to waste”, added Daniels.

“In the last year, we’ve been able to take bumper crops and offer consumers great deals on strawberries, cherries and lettuce. This is another example of Tesco working with our farmers to give customers the best food at the best prices.”