Tesco has agreed a deal to donate all the unsold food from its stores to charity.
The supermarket giant announced plans to work with 5,000 local charities across the UK in an initiative that aims to eradicate all its food waste by the end of 2017.
It said the plan followed a “farm to fork” commitment to tackle food waste by its suppliers.
The latest figures released by the company show 55,400 tonnes of food were thrown away at its stores and distribution centres across the country in 2015.
The plan is part of a nationwide roll-out of a 14-store pilot programme called the Community Food Connection.
The project, which lasted over six months, has provided more than 22 tonnes of food for vulnerable people – the equivalent of 50,000 meals.
The roll-out began in 15 big cities and regions, including Manchester, Birmingham, Southampton and Portsmouth, this week and will gradually be introduced in all stores.
It is the second major retailer to announce a major food waste initiative after Morrisons announced its own distribution scheme using “community champions” last year which has now been rolled out nationwide.
Tesco has partnered with food waste FareShare to launch a digital open platform called FareShare FoodCloud which allows staff and charities to liaise to distribute surplus food.
The supermarket has also called on other retailers to adopt the FareShare FoodCloud to create an industry-wide platform.
Tesco chief executive Dave Lewis said: “We believe no food that could be eaten should be wasted. That’s why we have committed that no surplus food should go to waste from our stores.