Lidl lowers tuber expectations in support of growers

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'No separate label - it's still the same quality' says CEO

LIDL GB has announced its support for potato suppliers across Great Britain, helping them tackle the challenge of a growing quantity of stunted crop owing to the hottest and driest weather seen in half a century. 

The retailer has written to all of its British fresh produce suppliers to offer support and look for ways to ensure British crops are not going to waste. The supermarket will work closely with suppliers to identify key crop challenges, and where possible work to accommodate these products within its existing lines. 

Through this flexible approach, Lidl will help to prevent perfectly good, quality produce from going to waste because of variations in specifications, for example a different size to what shoppers are typically used to.  

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Lidl GB CEO Ryan McDonnell said: “Whilst the crop coming out may look and feel a bit different to what we’re all used to, it’s still the same great British quality. We therefore want to show support for our suppliers by working with them to find solutions to help. Lidl is built on the foundation of making good food accessible and affordable to everyone, and our fresh produce range is key to achieving this. Whilst some supermarkets have chosen to create a separate ‘wonky veg’ label for items that don’t quite fit a certain specification, we don’t believe in a creating a false market. 

"Instead, we have always strived to work collaboratively with our suppliers to ensure that we are flexible with variations in specifications at different times of the year. However, now, more than ever, it’s critical that we and the rest of the sector get behind our suppliers. That’s why we have written to all of our British fresh produce suppliers, and I would urge other supermarkets to do the same, so that together we can ensure that perfectly good produce isn’t going to waste.”

Lidl has also committed to funding and implementing 10 whole chain food waste projects by 2025, to work with suppliers to find further solutions to reducing waste and creating additional value in the supply chain. The discounter was one of the first supermarkets to sign the NFU Fruit and Veg Pledge in 2016, underlining a commitment to help work in a sustainable way with all growers. 

For customers, Lidl GB launched Too Good to Waste boxes in 2019 to help tackle in-store food waste. Boxes priced at £1.50 for approximately 5kg of fruit and vegetables from the store shelves that would have otherwise been thrown away but are still perfectly food to eat are put together daily by the discounter’s in-store Freshness Specialists and are available whilst stocks last. 

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