The supermarket chain threw away the equivalent of 119m meals last year, with bread and sandwiches among the most commonly discarded items. 

Tesco dumped approximately 59,400 tonnes (t) of food in the last year. Fresh bread, fruit and pre-packaged sandwiches are the items thrown away most.

Food waste from Britain’s biggest supermarket increased last year to 59,400t, the equivalent of 119m meals.

The rise seen by Tesco came despite a series of initiatives to tackle the problem, including donating huge quantities to food banks.

The figure is a 4% increase on 2015 – the supermarket’s beers, wines & spirits aisles and bakeries were blamed for the rise. The amount wasted was the equivalent of one in every 100 food products sold by Tesco during the last financial year.

Chief executive Dave Lewis said: “When I arrived at Tesco, we were the only UK retail company to publish our food waste data.

“What the data shows is that it’s clear where we need to focus our efforts… nearly three years after we announced it, we are still the only UK retailer publishing our data.”

Last week a 12-strong bakery team at Tesco, Chester formed a syndicate and scooped £1m between them.