- Tesco, the UK's biggest supermarket, has made changes in its supply chain in order to keep food fresh and reduce food waste. The supermarket has found that it is possible to ship produce directly from suppliers to its stores, allowing to cut its transit time and keep the produce fresh for two extra days.
- Europe's Waste and Resources Reduction Action Program (WRAP) has found that one extra day of product life can prevent 250,000 metric tons of food waste. "Preventing this volume of waste means UK shoppers have a potential shared saving of up to £500 million ($568 million) a year," Dr. Richard Swannell, director of sustainable food systems at WRAP, told The Guardian.
- In addition to supply changes, Tesco has announced a partnership with Fareshare and FoodCloud to ensure that any surplus of food in the markets will be donated to the hungry. Tesco has also changed beef and lamb packaging to increase its shelf life.
Food waste is an enormous and growing issue, not just in Europe but all over the globe. In its most recent report, the U.S. Agriculture Department estimated that 133 billion pounds of food — or one-third of the nation's food supply — were lost at the retail and consumer levels in 2010. Energy, water, and chemicals that were used to grow the food are also wasted, and the waste produces dangerous methane in the landfill.
U.S. supermarket giants, such as Whole Foods, should look to mimic efforts made by Tesco in order to slash food waste at the consumer level. In order to encourage this, a Change.org petition was started last month calling on Wal-Mart and Whole Foods to sell "ugly produce." The petition creators hope for the supermarkets campaigns to sell imperfect produce at a discount.
Additionally, the USDA and EPA announced the first-ever national food waste reduction goal in September, calling for a 50% reduction by 2030.
"Let's feed people, not landfills. By reducing wasted food in landfills, we cut harmful methane emissions that fuel climate change, conserve our natural resources, and protect our planet for future generations," said EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy in a press release during the time of the goal announcement.