Food surplus in the retail sector can now be managed on TAAP

TAAP has developed a Food Surplus Application to assist with the disposal of surplus food waste in the retail sector. It is currently being deployed by Tesco into its estate of stores in the UK, and integrates with systems from Tesco partners – FoodCloud and Fare Share. When the rollout is complete that will be in over 1000+ UK stores.

Figures show that even though ‘only’ 1% of food waste is generated by supermarkets, 55,400 tonnes of food was thrown away at Tesco stores in 2015, of which 30,000 tonnes could have been eaten (equivalent to over 70 million meals) – so with this initiative Tesco is able to deliver surplus food into the charities that are in close proximity to its stores rather than throw away perfectly good food.

Steve Higgon, TAAP’s CEO said “we were very pleased to be selected to support Tesco in delivering this socially responsible project”. The solution has been delivered across Tesco’s pre-existing in-store technology and integrates with Tesco’s partners, FoodCloud and Fareshare.

TAAP’s Food Surplus Application was first implemented and deployed to a number of test stores at Christmas 2015, and is now being rolled out to larger Tesco stores, with the aim to have completed the rollout and training by the year end. This is not just a technical delivery – there are logistics involved around finding and working with charities and volunteers local to the stores; plus working around the days that volunteers are available to collect, deliver, and distribute surplus food to people that could benefit from this service.

The Food Surplus Application is available to all food retailers and can be used to query product, pricing, and waste services, in order to provide an audit trail and definitive record of which organisations received which surplus products.
The fully integrated solution calls against Tesco’s internal data for product, pricing and waste systems. However, to ensure that the system can be used by other retailers, it has been designed to allow those interfaces to be easily replaced with calls to any client’s own product, pricing and waste services data. The platform is flexible and adaptable to a client’s specific needs. The system uses barcode scanners on mobile devices to scan existing product data. At the point of scanning, the retail user indicates if the item can be donated, or is excluded.

Donations (estimates) are posted then accepted by FoodCloud. Once accepted, the Food Surplus Application builds ‘virtual baskets’ into which the respective stores scan each product to record a complete audit trail of which items have been donated and to whom: weight, quantity, price etc. This data is passed back to FoodCloud, and Tesco can mark the product as ‘waste.’ FareShare run the platform via FoodCloud by setting up the charities and co-ordinating associated activity.

The system contains a training mode so that new staff/colleagues can be trained on a test account to assist with staff churn. Managers are able to receive notifications to advise when donations should have occurred, when product is wasted because the charity hasn’t collected the items, or has been collected. Tesco store internal operations are able to define store ID’s, permitted categories of food donation by store, training modes and so on.

Technology is one aspect of the solution but successful execution of the project requires orchestration of local charities and volunteers to collect the surplus produce. This is where Tesco’s partnership with FoodCloud and Fareshare brings the service to life.

Interested retailers should contact TAAP regarding how the system can be used by their organisation to manage food surplus more efficiently.

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