Food waste at Tesco stores in the UK rose by 4,000 tonnes last year, but the supermarket giant has continued to boost the amount of surplus food donated to charity.
Total sales of food increased by more than 100,000 tonnes in the past 12 months, from 9.85 million tonnes to 9.96 million. The amount wasted was up 4,004 tonnes, from 42,680 tonnes to 46,684.
Tesco says it means that 0.5% of food in its UK operations was wasted. It is maintaining a commitment that no food safe for human consumption will go to waste from retail operations by the end of the year.
It adds that 38,696 tonnes of surplus food was safe for human consumption. Of this, 5,700 tonnes was donated to people in need, 16,605 tonnes went to animal feed and 16,391 tonnes went to anaerobic digestion and energy recovery.
Donations of surplus food to charities rose from 268 tonnes in 2014 to 5,700 tonnes in the past year, more than doubling that for the previous year. In April 2016, 111 stores were donating surplus food and the current total is 2,300.
The increase in food waste was said to be in the produce, bakery and chilled categories, and Tesco is assessing why this had happened.
The figures are set out in the company’s annual report. Tesco is the only business in the sector to report food waste in this detailed way.