The UK retailer explained that Tesco Exchange is a new online marketplace that matches suppliers who have too much of a product – for example, crops, by-products, ingredients or packaging – with other Tesco suppliers who need it.
It is expected that the savings in production costs will ultimately benefit customers, too.
In the same way that consumer marketplaces work, suppliers can advertise surplus stock for sale on Tesco Exchange, post requests for things that they need, and agree sales between each other.
They can also set alerts for when items they need are posted.
Dr Julian Parfitt, technical director at Anthesis, the sustainability activator and developer of Tesco Exchange, commented, “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.”
Food Supply Chains
Surplus or waste can occur in food supply chains for lots of reasons. For example, long periods of good weather sometimes result in growers having more produce than they need.
Also, food manufacturers often have by-products that can be used by others.
One of the first listings was made by food manufacturer G’s Group, which supplies pickled beetroot to Tesco.
Tesco explained that the manufacturing process leaves G’s Group with tonnes of beetroot peelings that could be used by a livestock farm as cattle feed.
The opportunity for the Tesco Exchange platform has been highlighted by Tesco and WWF’s recent report about on-farm food loss.
Sarah Bradbury, quality director, Tesco, said, “Excess stock or waste for one supplier could be a valuable commodity to another.
“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.”
The WWF’s report found that in the UK alone, more than three million tonnes of food waste perishes before making it off the farm.
This is the latest in an ongoing programme led by Tesco to help its suppliers tackle waste.
By working directly with 107 of its global suppliers, it has helped to collectively reduce food loss and waste by 78,000 tonnes.
It aims to halve food waste in its operations by 2025 and reach net zero across its entire value chain by 2050.