Tesco is to relax rules on fine green beans imported from Kenya in a move expected to save more than 135 tonnes of edible crops from going to waste every year.
The UK’s largest retailer said shoppers’ preoccupation with pre-prepared vegetables had meant that until recently growers were required to supply fine beans within a strictly specified size range, and then trim them of their “strings” before being packed and shipped to the UK.
This move was originally made as a convenience measure to help people wanting “ready to cook” vegetables needing no preparation, but recent research by Tesco revealed customers would now prefer the beans uncut.
The new length specifications mean shoppers should benefit from a fresher, uncut product, meaning less food waste in the home. Often the trimmed beans would have their brown ends removed by fastidious shoppers.
“We have listened to our customers who have told us that they want great-tasting, quality fresh produce over uniformed sizing,” said Tesco commercial director for fresh food, Matt Simister.
“Our overall aim is to use as much of the edible crop as possible. If there is a surplus, we will work with suppliers to find an outlet - for example, by connecting our growers with our fresh and frozen suppliers for it to be used in foods such as ready meals.”