Our Work With Tesco

FareShare has worked with Tesco since 2012 to help alleviate poverty in the UK by ensuring surplus food within its supply chain is used to feed people and doesn’t end up as waste.

The partnership with FareShare is a core element of Tesco’s Little Helps Sustainability Plan to both reduce food waste and support local communities and during the last eight years has redistributed more than 100 million meals to almost 20,000 charities and community groups across the UK.

Quite simply, FareShare could not do what we do without Tesco’s incredible support!

Surplus food from stores

In 2015, to combat food waste at store level, Tesco partnered with FareShare and Irish social enterprise, FoodCloud. This resulted in a pioneering scheme called FareShare Go. Combining FoodCloud’s innovative technology with FareShare’s on-the-ground support, FareShare Go is a simple and safe solution for redistributing store-level surplus food to people who need it.

This ground-breaking programme leads the way in the charity redistribution of unsold supermarket food.

Charities and community groups can register for the scheme and will then be matched with a participating store in their local area, allowing them to collect surplus food on a regular, weekly basis. They are notified about unsold food via the FareShare Go app, email or text message and can then collect the food free of charge to redistribute to those that need it most.

Active in every single Tesco store – 2,764 to be precise – more than the equivalent of 65 million meals have been rescued and given to charity. Tesco continues to donate more than 2 million meals every single month from stores. Charities and community groups can register their interest via the FareShare Go web page.

Supply chain surplus

Tesco’s surplus food redistribution started as an opportunity with its online grocery business. In stores that only fulfil online orders, food cannot be reduced to clear and this leads to a lot more surplus. This surplus is identified daily and split between a staff shop and FareShare. A successful trial saw Tesco.com vans from all six online grocery stores in and around the M25 delivering food out to FareShare’s Deptford and Brighton-based Regional Centres daily.

Following the success of the online grocery roll-out, Tesco moved on to identify the ability to divert surplus food from within their Fresh Supply Chain to FareShare. Tesco recognised the importance of identifying Fresh surplus food as early as possible to ensure the longest life for redistribution. FareShare now receives surplus food from all eleven Tesco Fresh Distribution Centres, including fresh fruit and vegetables, meat, dairy and chilled ready-meals.

After maximising this opportunity, Tesco turned their attention to its ambient surplus. From the autumn of 2015, Tesco Grocery distribution centres began delivering surplus to FareShare Regional Centres. This food includes dry ambient goods like rice and pasta, tins and jars and other store cupboard essentials.

Additionally, as and when it occurs, FareShare also receive range reset stock and discontinued lines, making best use of products which no longer have any commercial value but are still perfectly fit for human consumption.

Supplier engagement

To help increase the volume of food reaching the FareShare network, Tesco has introduced FareShare to their supplier base as the recommended solution for creating social value from their surplus stock. This has, in turn, led to new food manufacturers and producers partnering with FareShare to redistribute their surplus products, providing even more meals to people in need.

Customer donations

Every year since 2012 Tesco has hosted the Tesco Food Collection in partnership with FareShare and the Trussell Trust. Working together, volunteers and Tesco staff encourage customers to donate food at collection points in Tesco stores across the country in what is now the biggest food collection in the UK. The food is then sent back to Tesco depots where they then sort it and deliver it to all of Fareshare’s UK regional centres. The Food Collection provides FareShare access to long-life cupboard essentials that complement the predominantly fresh surplus food that we get from Tesco and other food partners.

Tesco has also installed Permanent Collection Points (PCPs) for FareShare at 133 stores across the country, with even more set to roll out in 2021. Tesco shoppers can now donate food during their shop to help feed people in need 365 days a year.

Support throughout the coronavirus pandemic

At the beginning of the lockdown in March 2020, Tesco pledged to support FareShare and Trussell Trust with £15 million worth of food to help feed more vulnerable people during the coronavirus pandemic. Tesco donated the equivalent of 4.5 million meals to FareShare which enabled us to support thousands of vulnerable people across the UK.

Tesco also donated £500,000 to FareShare to support continuing operations during the pandemic.

In October 2020, Tesco pledged an additional £4m of food to help us continue our support of frontline organisations feeding people in need. The donation is being used to purchase high quality cheese and meats as well as a mixture of ambient food to help FareShare continue providing food to frontline organisations.

These additional donations came on top of the food that is delivered every month through FareShare Go and food delivered from its distribution centres. Tesco also ran an additional Summer Food Collection in August 2020 to help us meet increased demand for food, where generous customers donated the equivalent of more than 118,000 meals.


Since our partnership began, Tesco and its customers have provided enough food to make more than 61 million meals for vulnerable people across the country. Our work with Tesco demonstrates how the retailer has taken a pragmatic and pro-active approach to maximise surplus food distribution across all parts of their operation, creating a huge social benefit to communities across the UK.

Lindsay Boswell, Chief Executive of FareShare, says:
“Tesco has demonstrated real leadership in tackling food waste. Over and above the large volumes of surplus food they provide us, Tesco should be applauded for how they have embedded FareShare into all aspects their business – from distribution centres to stores and fresh food to ambient. Tesco’s level of commitment to using their surplus food for social good, has helped provide millions of meals for vulnerable people across the UK.”