Food Waste

Surplus Food Donations

We've donated over 10 million meals to hundreds of charitable groups across the country through our innovative surplus food donations programme in partnership with FoodCloud

2018/19 Tesco Ireland Food Waste Data

Ireland Food Surplus and Waste – 2018/19

At Tesco, we have no time for waste. We are proud to be the first retailer in Ireland to publish independently assured food waste data for our own operations and are committed to driving progress towards the UN Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) target to halve per capita global food waste by 2030.

Highlights from 2018/19 include:

  • Total waste has reduced by 8% compared with 2017/18
  • We achieved a 7% reduction in the level of surplus food safe for human consumption[1] going to waste compared with 2017/18.
  • We donated 865 tonnes of food to over 350 good causes and charitable organisations from our stores and distribution centres. This is equivalent to over 2 million meals.
  • 151 stores across Ireland are offering surplus food to local good causes and charitable organisations.
  • To date we have donated over 7 million meals to help those in need, supporting the food charitable sector to save over €10million on their food bills as quantified by Irish social enterprise and food surplus donations partner, FoodCloud.
  • We donated 180 free fridges and freezers to groups participating in the Tesco Surplus Food Donations Programme through our Community Chill initiative, supporting them to increase and improve their storage capacity.

Transparency and measurement is essential for identifying hotspots, and in tackling the causes of food waste. It helps everyone understand how much, where, and why food is being wasted.

In 2018/19, 581,659 tonnes of food sold in Ireland generated 7,176 tonnes of surplus (equivalent to 1.23%), of which 4,150 tonnes was safe for human consumption.

865 tonnes of this surplus was redistributed through donations to charitable organisations, a 47% increase compared to our baseline in 2016/17. Donations decreased slightly as we worked to minimise our food surplus internally by improving our processes, production planners and reduced to clear policies.

As a result of our actions there has been a 7% decrease in food safe for human consumption going to waste in Ireland compared with last year:

Total food waste (food safe and not safe for human consumption) in 2018/19 was 6,312◊ tonnes (1.09%◊ of sales). This represents an 8% reduction compared to last year and a 6% increase compared to our baseline year 2016/17 in line with increased sales over this period.


2018/19 Tesco ROI food waste by category (surplus minus donations)

We continue to the lead the industry in our support for the food charitable sector. Last year we provided groups participating in the Tesco Surplus Food Donations Programme with over 180 free fridges and freezers through our Community Chill initiative, supporting these causes to increase their capacity to take and safely store surplus food.

As a member of the Department of Communications, Climate Action and the Environment’s Action Group on Food Waste in the Retail Sector, we worked closely with Government to discuss retail plans to tackle the issue of food waste and support the drive for all retailers in Ireland to publish amalgamated food waste data.

Working in partnership with our suppliers during a year of challenging weather conditions, we supported the industry to minimise their food waste at source by temporarily changing the specifications for many fresh products in store, allowing a greater level of sell through of smaller or larger than usual lines.

We are proud of the work our colleagues do to reduce waste and encourage other businesses to publish detailed, third-party assured food waste data.

Independent assurance over our figures, KPMG LLP

KPMG LLP were engaged to provide independent limited assurance over the selected food waste data highlighted on this webpage with a ◊ using the assurance standard ISAE 3000. KPMG has issued an unqualified opinion over the selected data. KPMG’s full assurance statement is available at:

[1] Safe for human consumption refers to food that is suitable for donation to charity