The campaign group Feeding the 5000 has welcomed Tesco's decision to report figures on food waste, but believes this is only the first step.
Campaigner Domnika Jarosz told ITV News:
We are pleased that Tesco has decided to report their food waste and have it audited by third parties, but we see this as a first step.
Supermarkets are responsible for far more than what they waste [in their supermarkets and distribution centres] because they control a large part of the supply chain.
– Domnika Jarosz, feeding the 5000
Their strict cosmetic standards - which reject straight bananas and cracked cauliflowers, for example - mean there is a significant amount of waste before products even reach the shelf.
As a result of pressure from consumers, supermarkets and retailers are starting to compete with each other to see who can lead the way on food waste. We hope other supermarkets will start measuring their food waste.
Tesco's commercial director of group food, Matt Simister, said the growing world population is going to put increasing pressure on the supply of food.
Mr Simister continued, "Really that means one of two things - we can either be more productive end to end, or we can waste less."
Oxfam said the amount of food that is wasted when one billion people go to bed hungry at night "is nothing short of a scandal."
Oxfam's head of economic justice policy Hannah Stoddart said: "It is a damning indictment of a food system that places greater importance on corporate profits than ensuring everyone has enough to eat.
"It's great news that the biggest supermarket in Britain is taking tentative steps to tackle the problem, but we need urgent action like greater regulation and investment from governments worldwide to fix the system."
Following Tesco's discovery that the average family spends £700 a year on food that is thrown away, we asked ITV News viewers, "How much food do you waste every week?"
- Dawn Robson says, "I never throw away food, I write a list of meals I'm making that week and only buy what I need ... Those who throw food away must be rich and have money to burn."
- Jenny Collins comments, "Maybe they should make bagged salad in smaller portions? I quite regularly throw away half a bag."
- Steven Jefferies says he throws away "loads" of food, adding, "Being single it is more expensive to buy individual items than it is pre-packed."
The Waste and Resources Action Programme (Wrap) said collaborative action on food waste is "essential" if it is to be successfully reduced.
Wrap director Richard Swannell said: "We welcome Tesco's approach to tackling food waste across their whole supply chain, and by identifying the hot spots they can tackle these areas effectively.
"Food waste is a global issue and collaborative action is essential if we are to successfully reduce food waste and reap the financial and environmental benefits of doing so."
Tesco tracked 25 best-selling products and combined information with data from the Waste and Resources Action Programme (Wrap) to give an overall food waste "footprint" for each item.
The data shows that in the first six months of this year, 28,500 tonnes of food waste were generated in Tesco's stores and distribution centres.
– Tesco commercial director of group food Matt Simister
We've all got a responsibility to tackle food waste and there is no quick-fix single solution. Little changes can make a big difference, like storing fruit and vegetables in the right way.
Families are wasting an estimated £700 a year and we want to help them keep that money in their pockets, rather than throwing it in the bin.
We're playing our part too and making changes to our processes and in store.
Tesco has revealed food waste figures for its operations for the first time:
- 68% of salad to be sold in bags is thrown out - 35% of it in the home
- 40% of apples are wasted
- A quarter of grapes are wasted between the vine and the fruit bowl
- A fifth of all bananas are unused - with customers throwing one in 10 in the bin
- Just under a half of bakery items are wasted
Tesco is dropping some food promotions after finding that two-thirds of produce grown for bagged salad is wasted.
The supermarket giant has revealed food waste figures for its operations for the first time, revealing that 68% of salad to be sold in bags is thrown out - 35% of it in the home.
As a result of the findings, it is to end multi-buys on large bags of salad and is developing mix-and-match promotions for smaller bags in a bid to help customers reduce the amount they are wasting.
It is also removing 'display until' dates from fresh fruit and vegetables, using smaller cases in stores and rearranging 600 in-store bakeries to reduce the amount of bread on display, with the aim of better stock control and less waste.