May 12, 2022

Supermarket giant Tesco has continued its partnership with the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) on a new programme that aims to boost food innovation in the UK.

Chiefly, the goal of this partnership – which started back in 2018 – and the new Innovation Connections programme – is to increase food innovation in the supply chain and decrease the negative impacts that food can have on the environment, as well as guaranteeing UK food security. This will be done by connecting innovative start-ups with Tesco suppliers. 

Innovation Connection will reportedly tackle “a key barrier preventing promising sustainability innovations from being adopted at scale in food supply chains”, as put in a public statement. This will be done by finding and partnering with suppliers that are able to help scale-up new innovations and technology. 

The programme opened up to applicants, who were matched with Tesco’s long-term suppliers. The teams will work on pitching concept scale-up projects that can be implemented in food supply chains. Winners will then be selected to work with supplier partners of Tesco, in order to pilot and scale their ideas. Winners will also receive around €175,000 in funding. 

“To deliver affordable, healthy and sustainable food for all, the entire food sector must innovate fast”, said Tesco Group CEO Ken Murphy. “That’s why, as well as driving improvements in our operations, Tesco is collaborating with innovative suppliers and start-ups”.

Tesco and WWF started their partnership in 2018. Now, they are working together to boost food innovation in the supply chain. (Photo: Gordon Joly/CC BY-SA 2.0)

Finalists selected to come up with food innovation strategies

Eight finalists have been selected for this year’s innovation programme. Among the finalists are AgriSound & AM Fresh, Aurea & Adrian Scripps, Chirrup.ai & Hilton, CCm, Andermatt FCT & Branston, FCT & ProduceWorld, Future by Insects & Hilton, Harbro & Muller and InsPro & Prepworld.

The finalists will compete this month (May 2022) to be winners and actualise their food innovation strategy. 

“More than a quarter of all greenhouse gas emissions are driven by how we produce and consume food, but it doesn’t have to be that way. It’s possible for farms to produce enough nutritious food and sustain farmers’ livelihoods at the same time as protecting and restoring the natural resources they depend on”, said WWF CEO Tanya Steele, CEO, WWF.

“We hope the launch of this new accelerator program with Tesco will bring innovative solutions a step closer and help us achieve our goal of halving the environmental impacts of the average UK shopping basket”.

Tesco and World Wide Fund for Nature continue their partnership

As previously mentioned, Tesco and WWF have been working together since 2018. “Despite being very different organisations, Tesco and WWF share a common ambition”, says WWF. “To make affordable, healthy, sustainable food available to everyone”.

The Fund cited a Living Planet Report as being a main driver for increasing food innovation on the supply chain. The report explained that wildlife populations have decreased by 60% in the last 50 years. “The single biggest reason for this disastrous decline is the global food system – what we eat, how we produce it, and how it reaches our plates”.

By partnering with Tesco, the organisations intend to improve the food supply system from the inside, and WWF benefits from having a platform in one of the UK’s most popular supermarkets.   

Three main aspects of the eco mission have been outlined by the WWF: helping everyone to eat more sustainably, restoring nature in food production and eliminating waste. 

Winners of the Innovation Connections programme will be announced later this month (May 2022).

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