Supermarket giant Tesco has announced a new community cookery training programme in a bid to cut food waste and help those in need.
Launched in conjunction with celebrity chef Jamie Oliver, the programme will teach over 1,000 community cooks how best to use surplus food donations to help stop good food going to waste.
Tesco has been focusing on reducing food waste for over a decade. In 2009, Tesco stopped sending food to landfill and in 2013, became the first retailer to publish its food waste data.
In 2016, Tesco made a commitment that no food safe for human consumption will go to waste in its operations. Since then, every week it donates 300,000 meals of surplus food to over 7,000 different community and charity groups.
The Tesco Community Cookery School has been developed in partnership with FareShare FareShare; a UK-wide charity that redistributes food that would otherwise go to waste to charities, community groups, homeless shelters and children's breakfast clubs.
The programme will offer the groups training and advice on how to prepare nutritionally balanced meals out of the donations.
One of the most common challenges facing community cooks is how to prepare unusual or unexpected ingredients and large quantities of seasonal produce.
Using recipes designed by Jamie Oliver and Tesco’s development chefs, the training will ensure community cooks are able to make the most of surplus food and reduce the amount wasted.
The community cooks will learn everything from knife skills and nutrition to recipes for versatile base sauces, which can be adapted to complement a wide variety of donated food.
Training will be free and attendees will receive free cooking equipment and a folder featuring Jamie’s food surplus recipes.
Tesco chief executive Dave Lewis said: “Surplus food donations can make a huge difference to people in need, but can also create challenges for community cooks faced with unexpected, unusual or large volumes of a particular product.
"With Jamie’s help, we believe we can inspire, train and support charities to do even more with the donations they receive. Together, we can bring tasty and nutritious food to more people, in communities right across the UK.”
Jamie Oliver said: “It’s fantastic to join the work that Tesco and FareShare are doing to reduce food waste.
I’ve written these recipes to arm all those amazing community cooks with the tools to create something delicious and balanced for people who need it the most.
"It is all about giving otherwise-wasted ingredients some love, and transforming them into tasty, nutritious meals. For me, every dish we cook that reduces food waste is a winner.”