Tesco and WWF help to scale-up food innovation
Tesco teams up with WWF again to help sustainability innovation in the food supply chain and support food insecurity in the UK.
Tesco and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) have launched a new programme which pairs start-ups with Tesco suppliers to fast-track sustainability innovation in the supply chain. The aim of this programme, entitled Innovation Connections, is to limit the negative environmental impacts food can impose, whilst supporting UK food security.
The hope is that the initiative will address “a key barrier preventing promising sustainability innovations from being adopted at scale in food supply chains” through identifying and connecting suppliers who can assist with the scale-up of new ideas and tech. This is another sustainable step in the pair’s partnership which began in 2018.
Applicants of Innovation Connections have been matched with long-term Tesco suppliers to pitch concept scale-up projects that they will then be able to apply to real-life food supply chains. Winners will work with Tesco’s supplier partners to pilot and scale their innovation, with the successful applicants to receive up to £150,000 in funding support.
Ahead of the programme’s finals this month, Tesco is calling on the UK Government to do more to “unlock innovation in UK food supply chains and support innovations to market readiness” – and “not just at the seed funding stage”. Specifically, the supermarket giant is asking the Government to set out timelines for updating outdated regulations that hinder the scaling up of innovations, such as insect protein in animal feed or sustainable low-carbon fertilisers, and to create incentives for businesses and consumers who are early adopters of new food system innovations.
“To deliver affordable, healthy and sustainable food for all, the entire food sector must innovate fast,” said Ken Murphy, Tesco Group CEO. “That’s why, as well as driving improvements in our own operations, Tesco is collaborating with innovative suppliers and start-ups. But we also need government support, to help the food industry to scale proven innovations. The upcoming Food Strategy White Paper is a great opportunity to transform our food system and enhance food security. We hope the paper will set out a process to update outdated regulations that hinder the scaling up of much needed innovations.”
“More than a quarter of all greenhouse gas emissions are driven by the way we produce and consume food, but it doesn’t have to be that way,” Tanya Steele, WWF CEO added. “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. We hope the launch of this new accelerator programme 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.”
Winners of the programme will be announced this week.