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Tesco a "modern-day Boaz" after pledging to end food waste

Fri 11 Mar 2016
By Aaron James

A Christian environmental charity has called the supermarket giant Tesco a "modern-day Boaz" after it pledged to eliminate all food waste by 2018.

A Rocha was speaking after Tesco announced the initiative, which it hopes will involve 5000 charities and groups across Britain helping to distribute food which would otherwise have been thrown away.

The charity was referring to the Biblical character Boaz, who purposely left a portion of his fields unharvested in order to allow the poor to feed themselves. The practice was called gleaning.

Tesco has said it threw away 54,400 tonnes of waste last year, 30,000 tonnes of which could've been eaten - the equivalent of 70 million meals.

It's starting with a nationwide roll-out of a 14-store pilot called the Community Food Connection, which over the last six months has generated more than 22 tonnes of food, the equivalent of 50,000 meals.

It operates by using a digital open platform called FareShare FoodCloud that allows store staff and charities to liaise to distribute surplus food.

The project launches in 15 cities and regions this week, including Manchester, Birmingham, Southampton and Portsmouth, and will cover all Tesco stores by the end of 2017.


Tesco launching its new project


Andy Lester, from A Rocha, also said Tesco's pioneering move could end the need for all foodbanks in the UK if other supermarkets got on board as well.

The conservationist also said the supermarket giant's decision would be an "inspiration" to the other five to act on food waste.

He told Premier's News Hour: "One of the stories I was looking at this morning is the story of Ruth and Boaz, where Ruth goes out and gleans.

"So enshrined in Biblical tradition and Biblical law was the idea that it was very, very important to provide food for those who don't have it.

"In a sense what we see with Tesco's is the modern-day Boaz - somebody who has decided to say: 'yes, the poor need to be given support through food'.

"The fact that Tesco are taking a lead should provide an inspiration to the other five big supermarket chains."

Listen to Premier's Alex Williams speaking to Andy Lester on the News Hour:

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