Ireland | Food Waste Data

Food Waste Data

At Tesco, we have no time for waste. We were 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 2020/21 include:

  • We donated 1,086 tonnes of food to over 370 good causes and charitable organisations from our stores and distribution centres, equivalent to over 2.6 million meals.
  • Food waste as a % of food handled is down 20% against our base year 2016/17
  • Our overall waste figure has decreased by 12% compared to 2019/20.
  • A 158% increase in the amount of surplus food redistributed to charities, community groups, and colleagues compared to our baseline 2016/17 and a 37% increase compared to 2019/20, driven by increased charity recruitment, a focus on improved instore processes and the introduction of colleague shop.
  • Since 2014, we have donated over 12 million meals to help those in need, supporting the food charitable sector to save over €16 million on their food bills as quantified by Irish social enterprise and our surplus food donations partner, FoodCloud
  • We launched Colleague Shop in all stores towards the end of 2019 resulting in 434 tonnes of bakery, produce and ambient food being saved from going to waste in 2020/21.
  • We partnered with 12 of our large Irish fresh suppliers in a bid to tackle the issue of food waste at their manufacturing sites and to working collaboratively to adopt the UN’s SDG goal 12.3. Led by Tesco Ireland, these Irish food suppliers including Aryzta, Country Crest, Keelings, Total Produce, and Manor Farm committed to publicly target, measure and act. All 12 suppliers publicly published details of their food waste for the first time in 2020.

Transparency and measurement are 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.

Food waste as a % of food handled – ROI


In 2020/21, we handled 654,038 tonnes of food to customers in Tesco Ireland. This generated 7,186 tonnes (1.10%) of food not sold to customers. As a retailer, we know perfectly matching supply and demand is almost impossible, there will always be some unsold food at the end of each day. Our priority is to reduce this through continually optimising our forecasting and ordering and reduce to clear processes.

Food waste by category: ROI


In total, 1,520 tonnes of surplus were redistributed through donations to charity and colleagues last year, an increase of 37% compared to 2019/20. Increased donations resulted from a focus on the top stores driving food waste and matching suitable local charitable organisations to them, along with a drive for continued improvements in donation compliance at a store level nationwide.

Surplus redistribution


Total food waste (food safe and not safe for human consumption) in 2020/21 was 5,665 tonnes which is 0.87% of food handled. Waste as a percentage of food handled has decreased by 20% compared to our baseline year 2016/17. While the impacts of Covid-19 resulted in an increase in sales, we continue to minimise unsold food internally by ensuring we have the correct range on sale, improving our processes, production planners and reduced to clear policies.

As a member of the Department of Communications, Climate Action and the Environment’s Action Group on Food Waste in the Retail Sector in 2017/18, 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.

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.