Making food accessible and tackling food waste are today among the key challenges facing modern societies. How can we win this battle? Does starting with the youngest customers sound as a good idea? Tesco’s example proves this approach is right.
For a number of years Tesco in Poland has been active in reducing the scale of food waste. Since 2013, the company manages its food surplus donation programme that helps to transfer an over 2,245 tonnes of food to foodbanks and charities a year. Tesco offers its customers ‘wonky’ fruit and vegetables, under Perfectly Imperfect brand, to help reduce farm food waste. And finally, Tesco takes care of educating its customers – the youngest ones.
Tesco’s Food Explorers programme started in 2016 as an answer to the issue of poor eating habits and the respect for food. Research conducted in 2015 showed that 22% of primary school pupils in Poland are overweight, and the older we are – the bigger the issue is. At the same time, 13% of children waste food on daily basis, and 1,600 tonnes of food goes into school bins every year.
To promote healthier lifestyle and educate on the importance of food, Tesco’s programme stands on two pillars: educational materials for school teachers and… trips to stores.
These Expeditions of Taste are organised by Community Champions – specially trained Tesco employees, who show that learning about healthy eating can be fun. During the store expeditions, children learn about nutritional values of selected products, collecting stickers that are later used for a food pyramid. At the same time, they taste new things, solve food puzzles, learn about food origin and the food supply-chain, and finally – get familiar with the food labelling. The last stage is preparing healthy snacks – dried fruit and nut yoghurt. The children also receive leaflets with homework – tasks to complete home, with their parents, who thus become also engaged in the scheme. An extra edu-box is prepared for the class’s teacher, so that more scenarios can be made during school lessons afterwards.
In 2017, a new initiative called No Waste Clubs joined the programme. The key task of this school club, created by a teacher with a group of children, is to create a Sandwich Bank. This place, where children can leave or exchange their breakfast meal, is a great platform to learn how easily we can reduce food waste. Some of the more creative clubs have already introduced new initiatives, like a leftover meal cooking contest, distributing leaflets on reducing waste in festive seasons, or even group juice-pressing and preparing sauerkraut.
Has it worked? The number of 16,000 children involved in the expeditions shows the scale. 670 trips to stores took place and 1,500 teachers registered in the programme. In a survey, 98.5% of teachers said Tesco’s edu-box was useful, and more than 98% confirmed they would be happy to make the store visit again. In total, more than 57,000 children were taught from Tesco’s scripts.
Tesco’s programme was also noticed by branch experts. It received PR community’s Złoty Spinacz 2017 (Golden Clip 2017) award and got the top recognition in the Corporate Social Responsibility category, winning over 40 other projects.
“It’s so great to see that both children and teachers, as well as social responsibility experts, appreciate the work we’ve been doing,” says Kasia Bąk, CSR Manager at Tesco Poland. “The programme proves that even those really important issues, like tacking food waste, can be presented in simple, effective and engaging way. We’re moving forward now, with the third edition taking place in our stores right now. So expect the number of kids educated to grow even more!”
A map of stores where the Expeditions of Taste are taking place can be found on www.oduprawydopotrawy.pl website. Find out the nearest trip and don’t let your child’s class miss it!