Tesco says it will save 135 tonnes – equivalent to eleven double-decker buses – of food waste from its fine bean supply chain each year after discovering customers aren't concerned about 'uniformed sizing'.
Formerly, Tesco required its fine bean growers in Kenya to supply the veggies within a specific size range and to trim them before packing them up and shipping them to the UK – a policy it describes as 'a convenience measure to help customers' and one that resulted in 15 per cent of each bean going to waste.
Having found that its customers are actually pretty happy to have uncut beans, Tesco has expanded the length specifications and put an end to trimming. As well as cutting out food waste at the packing stage, it also means beans are fresher when they arrive in shoppers' baskets.
"Our overall aim is to use as much of the edible crop as possible. In some cases, we believe that our specifications – such as with the fine beans – can be widened to accommodate more of the crop," says Tesco's Commercial Director for Fresh Food, Matt Simister.
"If there is a surplus, we will work with suppliers to find an outlet – for example, by connecting our growers with our fresh and frozen suppliers for it to be used in foods such as ready meals."
He adds: "We've also improved how we forecast and order to help producers cut down on waste by only growing and harvesting what is required.
"In the case of Kenyan fine bean growers we have overhauled the ordering process. This means the beans can be sent straight to our distribution centres, cutting time out of the supply chain and providing customers with a fresher product."
Here's an informative video: