With the average UK household said to be wasting £60 in food every month tesco have introduced measures to cut down on their own food waste by launching a community food connection program which donates surplus food from their stores to local charities, alongside this they are introducing “perfectly imperfect” ranges to take more fruit and veg from their suppliers which wouldn’t fit the normal standards, but essentially is a replacement for the value ranges rebranded and perhaps repriced.
Of course this doesn’t reduce the fact that households waste so much food on average, instead that would come down to changing the way you shop and the way you use the food in your household, where various suggestions are made, through a leftovers tool where you can look up recipe’s to use the leftovers in your fridge rather than allowing them to go to waste, along with recipe’s at lovefoodhatewaste which has been launched to help waste less.
I received vouchers to try the perfectly imperfect fruit range with apples and pears currently available but these would change throughout the year with whatever fruit and veg they have growing which would have imperfect options, along with a voucher to try the eat fresh, keep fresh chicken range at £2.50
Perfectly Imperfect Range
The perfectly imperfect range is fruit and vegetable products which may just be off shape or a little small or large, but could have other imperfections too. It would seem they are a replacement for the tesco value range by another name, and as such varieties in the fruit and veg would vary from week to week depending on what products are available at that time to tesco to fill the range, and these would not last all year but be very seasonal, however while they’re there you can get necessary fruit and vegetable fulfillment at a reasonable price.
Finding the products proved to be rather difficult, and while staff would promise a new delivery every day if you went in 4 time in a week and a half like I did they never had a single delivery, and staff will use the go to “there’s a delivery tomorrow” without actually checking if the range is coming in or not as the products never got refilled, I ended up having to resort to talking to tesco’s twitter account to get help sourcing the product as even though deliveries were stated it never arrived either, and I got sent to another store which had some in stock, price may also seem to vary from store to store as my store stated 70p for the apples but I got them for 60p in the store I went to where they were in stock.
The range is fine, and when I worked at festivals the fruit would often be gala apples much the same as those in the perfectly imperfect range, and the conference pears look perfectly fine to me, maybe they don’t have noble shoulders but that doesn’t matter and eating them it’s simply that these fruits haven’t aged properly, there’s no pips inside, but once they’ve ripened and gone softer they taste perfectly fine, and if you’re into hard pears you’ve got them off the bat! All in all the range is perfectly fine, and the fact is other than looks you’re really going to get the same product at a cheaper rate, maybe you might have to peel the fruit and remove the imperfections if there are nips in the flesh, but that’s minor and you’re likely to get that in most instances anyway.
Eat Fresh, Keep Fresh Chicken
The “eat fresh, keep fresh” chicken range contains 300g of chicken which is more expensive than the willow farms range which is £1.89 for the same amount of chicken, the only variation is that both breasts are together in the willow farms where the tesco keep fresh range has two separate compartments, but at nearly 60p extra this probably isn’t ideal. With the 60p extra you could buy some clingfilm to wrap the second breast and this would last hundreds of packs not just one, and at nearly 25% off for exactly the same product it seems a rather wasteful range, especially if most people would cook both breasts together if they’re having a meal with a partner, and single people can store the other breast fine without it’s own vacuum sealed pack, unless they’re really silly and leave it uncovered several days straight, or even out of the fridge but that’s their own fault then and a lack of common sense in consumers doesn’t justify such expensive packaging options which is actually very wasteful in terms of product packaging.
Cooking the product itself it is an inferior chicken breast also, as it has a lot of added water. because the juices coming from the breast when cooked on the george forman grill were mostly water, having cooked a lot of meats and chicken on the grill I know the fluids that come from these and this was very watery, also when cooked the flavour was missing and it was a very disappointing product, you can definitely find chicken which hasn’t been pumped with preservatives and water as much as this for a better price, and at £8.34 a kilo you expect unmessed with chicken not something that is inflated with water to make more profits. (For reference beef brisket on the counter is £8 a kilo or you can get pork for significantly less) I just found the chicken very disappointing, and is probably the worst chicken I’ve ever had.
Another thing I would change is that the skin is removed, with such a product if the skin was left on the breast it could easily be removed if someone didn’t want it but those who like the skin it’d be nice to have it included, but if as it seems the chicken has been inflated with added water injected then it’d be a flag saying hey this is so much bigger than the skin so you can see why they’ve had to remove it, but a nice piece of crispy skin on the breast is very nice, and if the “added water” is supposed to keep it moist, that’s the job the skin would do, keeping the moist breast during cooking and leaving a very tasty crispy outer layer, and I know a lot of people don’t know just how good a salted crispy chicken skin is, it’s chicken crackling and it’s very good. (just keep an eye out some celebrity chef will eventually steal the idea when they realize how good it is)
Reduced To Clear
One way tesco reduce the amount they waste is reducing products to clear so they’re cheaper and affordable with those who cannot afford to pay full retail, the problem with this comes two-fold in some instances the shelves contain out of date products not reduced more than 25% as they wont reduce the full range, and the other major problem comes in the fact that the price reductions occur at the same time every day and in my local store there’s a group of 6 women that act like piranha’s and block the isle with their trolleys and take absolutely everything that the assistant reduces to 80% every single day (quoted by the staff at the tesco store I visited) not only do they block the isles but if you do get past to look at the reduced produce, they will try to push you out and then grab and hold every single product to hold onto and pass to the assistant so nobody else gets reduced to clear produce.
Now I’m not suggesting reducing to clear is a bad thing because there are a lot of things I would rely upon reduced in order to live, it just needs a little reform where people every single day with entire trolleys of reduced products are clearly either selling on or wasting all of that food, which goes against the food waste scheme, as if they’re taking so much home simply because it’s cheap just to waste it this isn’t good. The other problem is that some ranges such as the ready meals and meat don’t seem to get reduced and get ignored so much so that on the 6 visits I made in short succession over a few weeks trying to get the apples at various times on 3 occasions I found out of date products in the stores ( and in my own personal shopping I keep coming across out of date products in tesco not reduced below 25% and that’s why they go unsold, sure they might go to charities but people would buy them to use and not want to rely upon the charities if they got reduced enough to actually sell)
The reforms I would suggest would be not to take products off the shelf to leave unreduced or even reduced at a small ammount of 5-10%, instead starting off at 25% the night before at the same time everything is reduced 80% save a job by doing it all together. There are people who would then buy it at 25%, with at least an extra day on the range, then in the morning/noonish it could be reduced to 40-50% and then later reduced to the 80-90% savings. I can guarantee some ranges get skipped as I have even gone in an hour before the store closed and asked the staff at the reduced section if the products were getting reduced any further and they were not, and this was one of the occasions where there were out of date products on the reduced to clear, and most of the range was only 25% off which was not good, and with discounters in the area offering similar products at much cheaper than even those reduced to clear prices it becomes a hard sell for those who are price savy and shop around.
Who is to say how the reduced to clear range may change with the new system, perhaps more ranges won’t get reduced because they will be passed onto charities, but in that instance tesco really are wasting more food, sure it’s going to charities but when there are people who would buy just what they would eat without wasting it if it was reduced to a price they could afford then reform might need to be done to ensure everything gets reasonably reduced so more gets sold, because surely it’s better to sell than to simply pass the buck to charities to seem like nothing is getting wasted.
What Can You Do To Reduce Waste Yourself?
The main reform which would need to occur is with yourself when you are shopping, if you are one of those wasting anything close to £60 of food every month you might want to think about what you are buying, do you need it, will you eat it? Will it go to waste? How much have you already got in your fridge going to waste? And if you’re reduced to clear shopping don’t take the entire shelf just because it is cheap, just take a few things some treats and some essentials and only what you know wont get wasted. Be kind and polite so other shoppers can also take advantage of the reductions, and in turn you might notice there are products left for you on other days too rather than a mad rush to grab everything in a sea of piranha munching your flesh if you put your arm in the section.
Other than that if you know you have some food which will be going to waste, cook it before it goes off, freeze it, or use a recipe to use it all up and enjoy the food you’ve purchased rather than throwing your money directly into the bin.