Tesco has launched an online marketplace to allow suppliers to slash costs and tackle food waste by selling or donating surplus stock to other manufacturers.

The supermarket said the Tesco Exchange service, which was available to more than 3,500 Tesco suppliers, would help to tackle surpluses including crops, byproducts, ingredients and packaging.

The service will allow suppliers to advertise surplus stock for sale on Tesco Exchange, post requests for suppliers they need, and agree sales between each other.

Tesco will also allow suppliers to set alerts for when items they need are posted. 

Among the first suppliers to sign up is G’s Group, which supplies pickled beetroot to Tesco. As a result it is left with tonnes of beetroot peelings as part of its production, which could be used by a livestock farm as cattle feed.  

Tesco pointed to a recent report it sponsored with WWF on farm food loss, which found in the UK alone, more than three million tonnes of food waste perishes before making it off the farm.   

“Excess stock or waste for one supplier could be a valuable commodity to another,” said Tesco quality director Sarah Bradbury.

“By linking different farmers, producers and manufacturers together, our suppliers can find new ways to trim their bills, reduce waste, and keep delivering great value for our customers.” 

Julian Parfitt, technical director at Anthesis, the sustainability activator and developer of Tesco Exchange, added: “Tesco Exchange is a great example of an initiative that the food industry needs to embrace and support in order to directly address commitments on food waste, the circular economy, and move towards more sustainable and resilient supply chains.”