Earlier this year, South Korea set new food waste disposal limits on its households as the Ministry of Environment seeks to cut the amount of waste nationwide by more than 20 per cent. The government estimates that 50 million Koreans produce up to 170,000 tons of food waste daily. The annual loss of economic value due to food wastes exceeds $1.5 billion and the disposal cost alone is estimated at $600 million a year.
The international retailer Tesco, supporting the UNEP- FAO global campaign Think Eat Save--Reduce Your Foodprint. across their markets, is stepping up efforts to help their Homeplus customers in Korea waste less food and, in doing so, support the government drive down national waste levels.
For the second year, Tesco has partnered with the Ministry of the Environment to distribute ‘Eco tape’ to customers. Eco Tape is a label that enables customers to indicate purchasing dates and ingredients on the food package which helps customers be more aware of the food they are storing.
South Korea: Children’s painting competition focused on food waste
Tesco have also launched cookery classes at 40 community centres to help customers use leftover foods. The meals are tailored to the Korean calendar. For example, those who attend the classes are shown how to use leftover Korean pancakes – a traditional dish at the Korean Thanksgiving - to make hamburgers. Other innovative dishes include using leftover rice to make pizza dough.
To build awareness at an early age and through families, Tesco also made food waste the theme of this year’s eParan Children’s Environmental Painting competition. Over 50,000 children participated in the competition, with the 80 finalists presenting their work at a special awards ceremony at Presidential Exhibition Centre in June to coincide with World Environment Day.
Finally to help ensure any surplus food goes to those in need, Tesco has recently started working with food bank ‘Joy of Sharing’ on bakery donation scheme at all their Korean stores. Through this partnership, surplus bakery products are donated to people in need in the local community – the elderly, children in welfare centres and vulnerable family groups. Over 100,000 bags of bread have been donated so far.
Kelcey Hwang, who leads on Corporate Responsibility at Homeplus, is delighted by the reaction of colleagues and customers to the Tesco initiatives. “Given how much effort we make to serve our customers with fresh, nutritious food in store every day, my colleagues need little encouragement to come up with new ideas to help our customers throw less of it away.” Kelsey added “With each of our food waste initiatives, we first establish the customer need and try to align with government campaigns, so we can ensure we use the scale and reach of our business in Korea to deliver the maximum social benefit.”
Scaling up to cut food waste, by Philip Clarke, Chief Executive, Tesco
Tesco Poland Launches Competition to Help Schools Think.Eat.Save!
On World Food Day: Tesco Provides Meals to Millions in Need Through Fareshare Partnership