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How Tesco helped Kenyan farmers reduce produce waste

Aman Kapoor, Hazel Technologies
April 21, 2016 4:33 pm CST

United Kingdom’s leading grocery and general merchandise
retailer, Tesco, will be launching a new initiative to save a projected 135
metric tons of Kenyan-grown beans from being wasted.

Over 75% of Kenya's labor force is employed in the agricultural production sector

Over 75% of Kenya's labor force is employed in the agricultural production sector,  and some of the most fertile agricultural land in Africa is located in Kenya.

Current protocol dictates that Kenyan farmers produce beans within a specific size and trim before they are packaged for sale.  

Following consumer reports indicating a preference for untrimmed and non-rigid beans, Tesco has widened the length specifications and stopped the trimming process.

But consumer preference will not be the most impactful result of this new policy change. Large quantities of beans that would otherwise go to waste will be saved. New measurements specifications are estimated to save up to 15% of each bean.

Matt Simister, Tesco’s commercial director for fresh food stated, "Our overall aim is to use as much of the edible crop as possible.In some cases, we believe that our specification, such as with the fine beans, can be widened to accommodate more of the crop."

Simister also adds Tesco will work with suppliers to find an outlet for the surplus, such as connecting growers with fresh and frozen suppliers. Tesco also hopes to improve the supply process.

“In the case of the Kenyan fine bean growers we have overhauled the ordering process. This means the beans can be sent straight to our distribution centers, cutting time out of the supply chain and providing customers with a fresher product."

This move follows the supermarket’s ‘Perfectly Imperfect’ launch last month, a movement aimed at salvaging parsnips, potatoes, strawberries and apples that traditionally fell outside of size specifications.

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