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Tesco in the U.K. announced the nationwide rollout of a program that dramatically reduces the amount of food that goes to waste by giving all of the grocery store’s surplus food to charities.

Through its new Community Food Connection, Tesco will redirect millions of meals to shelters, food banks, and community centers by end of 2017. The initiative was given a trial in Merseyside, England, near Liverpool, and is making a big difference to local charities as a result.

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The Community Food Connection is powered by FareShare, which  connects store managers who need to move in-date excess food with the charities that can put the surplus to good use. Irish social enterprise FoodCloud provides the app that makes the relationship seamless.

The groundbreaking program is being launched this week in 15 cities and regions across the UK including Manchester, Birmingham, Southampton and Portsmouth. In the coming months the initiative will be rolled out to Leeds, Leicester, Kent and the West Midlands.

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The scheme has already been piloted in fourteen Tesco stores over the past six months and has generated over 22 tons of food – the equivalent to 50,000 meals.

“We believe no food that could be eaten should be wasted,” said Tesco CEO Dave Lewis. “That’s why we have committed that no surplus food should go to waste from our stores.”

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He said the program will reach all large Tesco stores – numbering over 800 – by the end of 2016, with all stores covered by the end of 2017.

(WATCH the video below from Tesco)


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