Until recently, Kenyan growers had to produce fine beans within a specific size range and to trim them before they were packed and shipped to the U.K.
This was apparently the wishes of British consumers who wanted the convenience of cut beans of a certain length.
However, Tesco has changed tack after more recent feedback shows that in fact consumers would rather purchase untrimmed beans and actually they are not so rigid about size.
As part of its ongoing review of its food sourcing policy, Tesco has widened the length specifications and stopped the trimming procedure, saving huge quantities of beans that would otherwise go to waste.
“We have listened to our customers who have told us that they want great tasting, quality fresh produce over uniformed sizing,” says Matt Simister, Tesco commercial director for fresh food.
“This new partnership with our growers in Kenya is a great example of how we are delivering on that promise to customers while also ensuring we prevent food that could be eaten, going to waste.
“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 adds how if there is a surplus, Tesco will work with suppliers to find an outlet such as connecting growers with its fresh and frozen supplier so the beans can be used in ready meals.
The opportunity to provide customers with a fresher, uncut product was identified by Tesco’s ‘agricultural hubs’ and the supermarket supplier, Flamingo Produce.
These hubs are set up all over the world, including Spain, France, Peru, Costa Rica, Chile and South Africa and are staffed by agronomists who are Tesco’s ‘eyes and ears on the ground.’
The new measures will save 15% of the bean.
“We’ve also improved how we forecast and order to help producers cut down on waste by only growing and harvesting what is required.
“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. This range sells parsnips, potatoes, strawberries and apples, that traditionally fell outside of size specifications.
It is due to be extended throughout the year.