Tesco has widened the length specifications for Kenyan fine beans and stopped the trimming procedure in a move it says will save 135 tonnes of edible crop waste a year.
The retailer said it had taken the decision after shoppers said they prefer beans uncut, and as part of its ongoing review of food sourcing policy.
It said the opportunity was identified by Tesco’s ‘Agricultural Hubs’ alongside supplier Flamingo Produce. As a result of the new measures being adopted, 15 per cent of the bean crop will no longer go to waste.
“We have listened to our customers who have told us that they want great tasting, quality fresh produce over uniformed sizing,” said Tesco commercial director for fresh, Matt Simister.
“Our overall aim is to use as much of the edible crop as possible. In some cases, we believe that our specifications – such as with the fine beans – can be widened to accommodate more of the crop.
“If there is a surplus, we will work with suppliers to find an outlet – for example, by connecting our growers with our fresh and frozen suppliers for it to be used in foods such as ready meals.”
Tesco ‘Agricultural Hubs’ have been set up across the world including Spain, France, Chile, Peru, Costa Rica and South Africa and are staffed by agronomists who act as “Tesco’s eyes and ears on the ground”, providing insight on levels and causes of farm waste.
“We’ve also improved how we forecast and order to help producers cut down on waste by only growing and harvesting what is required,” Simister added.
“In the case of Kenyan fine bean growers we have overhauled the ordering process. This means the beans can be sent straight to our distribution centres, cutting time out of the supply chain and providing customers with a fresher product.”
The news comes as Tesco recently launched its ‘Perfectly Imperfect’ range, which so far includes parsnips, potatoes, strawberries and apples. Tesco said it aims to expand this range to between 15 and 20 seasonal lines throughout the year.