Tesco cuts Kenyan green bean waste by relaxing rules

Green Beans
Green Beans. Photo: 16:9clue. Used under the Creative Commons licence.

Tesco have revised their partnership with Kenyan green bean growers in a move which will save 135 tonnes of edible fine bean crop from going to waste annually.

Until recently, coffee growers were required to deliver fine beans within a specific size range and to trim them 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This move was originally made as a convenience measure to help people wanting “ready to cook” vegetables needing no preparation, but recent research by Tesco revealed customers would now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.

As a result and as part of an ongoing review of its food sourcing policy, the retailer has widened the length specifications and called an end to the trimming procedure, which has resulted in a huge waste saving.

“We have listened to our customers who have told us that they want great-tasting, quality fresh produce over uniformed sizing.

“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.” – Tesco commercial director for fresh food, Matt Simister

This opportunity was identified by Tesco’s ‘Agricultural Hubs’ and the supermarket’s suppliers, Flamingo Produce.

The Agricultural Hubs, were set up by Tesco in different parts of the world and staffed by trained agronomists. They act as the eyes and ears for Tesco on the ground and provide an insight on levels and causes of farm waste.


As a result of the new measures being adopted, 15 per cent of the bean will no longer go to waste while customers will also benefit from being sold a fresher and uncut product, meaning less food waste in the home.