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Supply Chain
New Marketplace Matches Tesco Suppliers to Swap Surplus Stock to Cut Costs, Reduce Waste

Tesco Exchange, aka ‘Tesco Tinder,’ matches suppliers who have too much of a product — for example, crops, byproducts, ingredients or packaging — with other Tesco suppliers that can put it to use.

UK retail giant Tesco has launched an online marketplace through which its more than 3,500 suppliers can now cut production costs and reduce waste by selling or donating surplus stock or products to other suppliers who can make use of them — think Full Harvest for Tesco suppliers.

Tesco Exchange, aka ‘Tesco Tinder,’ matches suppliers who have too much of a product — for example, crops, byproducts, ingredients or packaging — with other Tesco suppliers that need it. In the same way that consumer marketplaces work, suppliers can advertise surplus stock for sale on Tesco Exchange, post requests for things they need and agree sales between each other. They can also set alerts for when items they need are posted. The company says that savings in production costs will ultimately benefit customers, too.

“Excess stock or waste for one supplier could be a valuable commodity to another,” says Tesco Quality Director Sarah Bradbury. “By linking different farmers, producers and manufacturers together, our suppliers can find new ways to trim their bills, reduce waste, and keep delivering great value for our customers.”

The opportunity for the Tesco Exchange platform was highlighted by Tesco and WWF’s 2021 report about on-farm food loss — which found that in the UK alone, more than three million tonnes of food per year perishes before even leaving the farm.

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Surplus or waste can occur in food supply chains for lots of reasons: for example, long periods of good weather sometimes result in growers having more produce than they need. Also, food manufacturers often have byproduct that can be used by others. For example, one of the first listings was made by food manufacturer G’s Group, which supplies pickled beetroot to Tesco — the manufacturing process leaves G’s with tonnes of beetroot peelings that could be used by a livestock farm as animal feed.

Dr Julian Parfitt, Technical Director at Anthesis — sustainability activator and developer of Tesco Exchange — comments: "Tesco Exchange is a great example of an initiative that the food industry needs to embrace and support in order to directly address commitments on food waste, the circular economy, and move towards more sustainable and resilient supply chains."

This is the latest in an ongoing effort by Tesco to help its suppliers tackle waste. In 2017, it launched a ‘food waste hotline’ to make it easier for suppliers and growers to pinpoint and find solutions for ongoing food waste hotspots; and earlier this year, Tesco and WWF launched an accelerator program that pairs pioneering startups with Tesco suppliers to fast-track sustainability innovation in the supply chain, with the goal of reining in the environmental impact of food and support UK food security.

By working directly with 107 of its global suppliers, Tesco says it has helped to collectively reduce food loss and waste by 78,000 tonnes. The company aims to halve food waste in its operations by 2025 and reach net zero across its entire value chain by 2050.