Tesco Introduces Scheme for Food Suppliers to Adopt Sustainable Technologies
Tesco has created a new programme in collaboration with WWF that allows cleantech start-ups to test their technology and processes with the retailer's major produce, meat, seafood, and dairy suppliers. The programme, "Innovation Connections," would connect companies with suppliers that are well-positioned to test their products. Tesco will invest up to £150,000 in each successful supplier-startup partnership to help pilot and expand new technologies.
Following Tesco's receipt of more than 70 applications, the shortlist for this round of "Innovation Connections" financing includes eight start-ups. AgriSound, Aurea, Chirrup.ai, CCm and Andermatt, FCT, Future by Insects, Harbro, and InsPro are among the start-ups on the shortlist.
Tesco and WWF's partnership's primary goal is to reduce the environmental impact of the average UK shopping basket by half by 2030, relative to a 2019 baseline.
Last November, four more supermarkets joined that pledge at COP26. The impact is calculated throughout a person's life, and the technique incorporates data on emissions, deforestation, food waste, and packaging waste.
Tesco Group’s chief executive Ken Murphy said:
“To deliver affordable, healthy and sustainable food for all, the entire food sector must innovate fast. That is why, as well as driving improvements in our operations, Tesco is collaborating with innovative suppliers and start-ups.”
Tesco and WWF are also using the launch of "Innovation Connections" to lobby the government to ensure that the National Food Strategy, which was originally scheduled for early spring 2022 but is now due this month, does not face any further delays.
Last July, Henry Dimbleby released his White Paper on the Strategy's proposals. Tesco needs greater clarification on how the government would adjust rules to help speed up the scaling up of more mature, sustainable solutions for the UK's food chain, such as low-carbon fertilisers and insect-based animal feed.
According to a recent analysis by GovGrant, the UK receives 18% of Europe's overall investment in sustainability technologies. Energy production and energy equipment firms are receiving the lion's share of funding in the UK and across Europe. There are still plenty of opportunities to increase investment in industries like transportation and agriculture.