Tesco’s new supply chain plan for fresher produce and reduced food waste
Supply chains play a vital role in the quality of a product, especially when that product is perishable. The more efficient and well-organized a supply chain becomes, the faster products make it to retail shelves—maximizing its appeal for consumers, and maximizing sales for stores before the product reaches its sell-by date. According to a new report, UK supermarket giant Tesco is revamping its own supply chain with an initiative that promises to get produce to shelves two days sooner than before, a move that means fresher food and a major reduction in food waste.
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According to a profile in The Guardian, Tesco plans to achieve this new efficiency by cutting a food packaging stage from its supply chain. Improved storage technology now allows Tesco to have produce shipped directly from produce suppliers to its stores without the need for an extra packing step, and as Tesco explained to the Guardian, this translates to real tangible benefits for its consumer base:
“For millions of our customers this move will mean having up to an extra two days in which to enjoy some of the most popular fruit and vegetables”, said Matt Simister, commercial director of food at Tesco. “The extra days of freshness will particularly benefit customers who are pressed for time and will mean they are less likely to throw away food.”
But there is more to it than just extra time to enjoy those fruits and vegetables—it’s about avoiding the latter scenario, where consumers waste time and money on food that expires before it’s used. Food waste has been a huge concern for Tesco, both internally and among consumers once the food had left the stores, and in recent years the grocer has been looking into a variety of ways to solve the problem.
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Simplifying the supply chain is an important step in solving that problem. Dr. Richard Swannell, director of sustainable food systems for the UK government’s Waste and Resources Reduction Action Programme (WRAP), explained to The Guardian that bringing fresh produce to market more quickly could make a significant difference in the amount of food waste that is thrown out on a daily basis:
“Our report estimates some 250,000 tonnes of food waste could be prevented by a one day increase in product life – food wasted by households and by the supply chain. Preventing this volume of waste means UK shoppers have a potential shared saving of up to £500 million a year.”
By revamping its supply chain for increased efficiency, Tesco is making progress in its mission to decrease food waste. If it’s successful, it could inspire other chains to start looking at their own supply chains to start making sustainability-minded changes of their own.
[SOURCE: The Guardian]