Charities Criticize Tesco's New Food Collection Rules Impacting UK's Hungry

Tesco, a UK supermarket chain, has introduced new rules restricting charity food collections to evening hours, causing logistical challenges for charities. Seven charities have written to Tesco, expressing concerns and launching a petition to rescind the changes.

author-image
Trim Correspondents
New Update
Charities Criticize Tesco's New Food Collection Rules Impacting UK's Hungry

Charities Criticize Tesco's New Food Collection Rules Impacting UK's Hungry

Tesco, one of the UK's largest supermarket chains, is facing backlash from local charities over new rules that restrict the collection of unwanted food to evening hours only. The change has made it more difficult for these organizations to distribute food to homeless and hungry individuals across the country.

Why this matters: The controversy highlights the ongoing struggle to address food waste and hunger in the UK, and the need for corporations to prioritize social responsibility alongside profit. As food poverty continues to rise, the impact of Tesco's policy change could have far-reaching consequences for vulnerable communities.

Seven charities, including Food for Charities in Oxford, Abingdon Community Fridge, and the Zero Carbon Guildford Community Fridge, have written to Tesco expressing their concerns. They claim that under the new system, they can only pick up surplus food in the evenings when stores are closing, rather than the following morning as was previously allowed.

This shift in policy has presented logistical challenges for the charities. "Most of us struggle to find volunteers to pick up in the evenings. Most of our charities do not have recipients for 'evening food' such as meat and sandwiches because we close our doors before the Tesco food is available," the charities stated in their letter to Tesco. They have launched a petition urging the retailer to rescind the changes.

Riki Therivel, director of Food for Charities, expressed the financial strain the new rules have placed on her organization. "It's a big shock for us and an increased expense. We can't pick up in the evening so we will be getting less food in future." The amount of food available for their community fridge system, which feeds hundreds, has been cut in half, forcing them to spend about £50 per week to purchase additional food.

Farrah Rainfly, operations manager at Lifeafterhummus, criticized Tesco's priorities, stating, "It really is putting profits before people. Treating people in need of food like garbage disposal." Despite donating millions of unsold meals to charities each month, Tesco claims the changes allow for the donation of chilled food alongside non-perishables, which wasn't feasible with morning collections.

The dispute follows a revelation that thousands of tonnes of unwanted food Tesco believed was being used as animal feed had instead been diverted to generate energy, hindering the company's efforts to reduce food waste. As the UK's largest supermarket group grapples with the fallout, the charities affected by the new rules remain steadfast in their commitment to serving the homeless and hungry, even as they navigate the challenges posed by Tesco's policy changes.

Key Takeaways

  • Tesco restricts charity food collections to evening hours, causing logistical issues.
  • 7 charities express concerns, citing difficulties in finding evening volunteers.
  • New rules cut available food for charities, forcing them to spend more on purchases.
  • Tesco claims changes allow for chilled food donations, but charities disagree.
  • Dispute highlights struggle to address food waste and hunger in the UK.