Pioneering new ways to fight food waste










The Challenge

According to the United Nations, up to a third of the world's food is wasted each year. Britain has the highest level of food waste in the European Union, with households throwing away 7 million tonnes of food and drink every year, a proportion of which could have been eaten. Aside from the unnecessary pressure this puts on our resources and the environment, food waste costs customers vast sums of money. According to the UK Waste Resource Action Programme (WRAP) the average British family with children throws away around £700 worth of food every year, a huge amount of money for Britain's shoppers.

In 2013, Tesco announced its ambition to lead in reducing global food waste. The idea was that lots of small actions can amount to a big impact on the issue. To date they have introduced a series of initiatives, including:

  • Stopping Buy One Get One Free promotions on fresh produce
  • Working with WRAP to include the Love Food Hate Waste logo and waste reduction hints and tips on the packaging of over 100 fruit and vegetable products
  • Simplifying date coding on meat and fresh produce
  • Launching a dedicated food waste section on the Tesco Real Food website
  • Introducing innovative packaging and shortening supply chains to increase product freshness
  • Being the first retailer to publish independently assured food waste data for their own operations 
  • Starting a partnership with FareShare and social entrepreneurs FoodCloud to donate surplus food from our stores to charity and prevent it going to waste.

Technology provides an opportunity to empower customers to take an active role in improving the situation further. This challenge, therefore, seeks a multichannel, customer-focused solution to help reduce waste once items have left the store. The successful solution must:

  • Understand and address the key drivers of household food waste. WRAP have conducted extensive research on the causes and potential solutions to household food waste, and may provide a valuable source of information: here and here.
  • Be compelling and capture customers' imagination, for example drawing upon interesting content and consider personalisation, gamification techniques and rewards as drivers for engagement. 
  • Make things simpler and less time consuming for customers, and therefore have the potential to be widely adopted.

Applicants may wish to consider exploring feedback mechanisms and ways of leveraging data captured to enable Tesco to better understand and respond to customer habits. 

The successful company will have the opportunity to trial their technology in partnership with Tesco for a minimum period of three months. Depending on the type of solution, this will include testing in store or online with access to customer focus groups and industry expertise.


About Tesco

Tesco was founded in 1919 by Jack Cohen from a market stall in London's East End. Over the years the business has grown and they now operate in 12 countries around the world, employ over 530,000 people and serve tens of millions of customers every week. Tesco have always been committed to providing the best shopping experience. Today they continue to focus on doing the right thing for their customers, colleagues and the communities they serve.

Tesco was built with a simple mission – to be the champion for customers, helping them to enjoy a better quality of life and an easier way of living. This hasn't changed. Customers want great products at great value which they can buy easily and Tesco's purpose is to deliver this in the right way for them. In the UK, Tesco serve some 66 shoppers every second, so it's their goal to ensure every one of those customers experiences just a little better service on each visit.


To learn more about how Tesco, and how they tackle food waste, please visit: 

Awards: 5 x £35,000

Briefing Event: 21 January

Contest Brief

Guidance for Applicants

Deadline: noon Tuesday 23 February 2016