Bonus crop of small lettuces taken by Tesco to prevent food waste

Georgina Reid

Buying Manager - Chilled Salads
Welwyn Garden City

11 May 2017

Bonus crop of small iceberg lettuces have been saved from going to waste by Tesco.

They may be small but they're still tasty. One of our suppliers has had a bonus crop of lettuces. Our growers have thousands of perfectly edible but small iceberg lettuces. Growers usually have a difficult time selling these lettuces to the markets, processors and supermarkets because of their small size.

An unexpected bonus crop is when unseasonable weather conditions create more food than is planned. Despite advanced forecasting and ordering systems, at certain times of the year our farmers see bonus crops. Farmers, call these moments 'crop flushes'. It means that the products are in a limited number, sometimes in a limited geographical location and won't be available all of the time.

Tesco have been a been able to help reduce waste by offering these smaller iceberg lettuces to customers in our Perfectly Imperfect range, all at a great price of 29p.

Grower confidence working with Tesco

Our supplier G's Fresh approached Tesco and asked us to help. We've worked with G's for years and are in constant conversation about how to deliver the best produce to customers. They know we try to accommodate different specifications, where possible, for our Perfectly Imperfect range. In this instance the product is just as good as our regular iceberg lettuce, but it’s smaller.

The farmer benefits from not having to plough the lettuce back into the field, food waste is prevented and customers get a bumper bonus deal. Win, win and win.

Helping our British suppliers

At Tesco, we’re passionate about working in partnership with our suppliers so that no edible food goes to waste. In the last 12 months, we’ve been able to take bumper crops like this and offer customers bonus deals on cauliflowers, carrots, strawberries, cherries, lettuce and celery. Customers benefitted from great prices; our farmers were happy we could take more from them, and we prevented good food from going to waste. Everyone wins.

This is another example of Tesco working with our farmers and suppliers to give customers the best products, at the best prices.

Perfectly Imperfect

The Perfectly Imperfect range looks to take out-of-spec or wonky fruit and vegetables and offer them to customers to help prevent food waste on farms and in production. The range includes cucumbers, strawberries, courgettes, pears and many other popular fruits and vegetables. 68 million portions of fruit have been saved from going to waste through our Perfectly Imperfect range.

Whilst visual appearance is still important for many customers we know that it is taste that’s really important, at great value prices. Our growers have told us that they love the Perfectly Imperfect range, because it means we can take much more of the crop. We love it because it allows us to make the most of the fresh produce we can sell in our stores.

No time for waste

This is part of our ongoing work to tackle food waste wherever it occurs – from farm to fork. Tesco believes that no food that could be eaten should be wasted. That’s why we’ve committed that no food that is safe for human consumption will go to waste from Tesco UK Retail operations by the end of 2017.

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