How we created a learning experience that helped 200,000 people feel passionate about reducing food waste


Food waste is a global problem and has significant implications for our planet. Statistics show that the UK throws away 4.5 million tonnes of food wastage every year and although the impact of food waste is huge, public awareness is relatively low. As a food retailer, Tesco takes their role in helping to reduce the amount of food wasted in the UK very seriously. Sustainability is a core pillar of their business strategy and they’re focused on reducing emissions from food waste, alongside overall emissions, aiming for net zero by 2050. 

The 'Why'

Tesco recognised the vast opportunities within their network of stores to redistribute unsold food, rather than it going to landfill, and store colleagues’ behaviours would be central to this strategy.  Improving the understanding of colleagues and how they could help in stores was to be a priority. Through educating and influencing the actions of employees and in turn their friends and family, Tesco would not only move closer to their sustainability goals, but we would be using their platform to further help save our planet.


The core challenge was to engage a network of store colleagues in a piece of non-compulsory training. Stores are incredibly busy and time is tight.  And our initiative came at a time when we were all recovering from the restrictions of Covid, key workers had been working incredibly hard and people were tired. If we were to be successful, we had to produce a learning initiative colleagues wanted to engage with, and memorable enough for them to share their experiences and new-found knowledge with friends and family.


We knew delivery of this initiative had to be different, so we developed a digital learning experience to engage learners with the topic, connect through emotion and call them to help deliver the promise. Making sure that we remained inclusive.  

We initially produced a ‘hearts & minds’ video to help colleagues understand the importance of what we were trying to achieve for the good of the planet and to highlight all the simple ways they could help. Following this, a series of complex topics such as anaerobic-digestion were translated into bite-sized and easy to understand material, so people could identify why and how they could make changes to their actions at work and at home, to help the planet.

The learning experience culminated in an online game called ‘Who Wants to be a Zeroaire?’ – designed to give colleagues a fun way of testing their learning.  The complexity of the scoring and the points system in the background meant the technology developed was bespoke to this initiative.  It was designed and developed from scratch and saw us using brand new technology, never before used in the Tesco business. 


Our objective for this initiative was a change in attitude and behaviour to help the planet so the true success of this initiative can only be measured over the long term.  Even then, the impact on the wider world is harder to quantify.  However, this year we have seen significant reduction in food waste as a % of food handled. 

However, since launch, in the last year Tesco colleagues’ actions have helped:

  • Donate 34 million meals to charity and local communities.
  • Redistribute 26,000 tonnes of food to people or animals.
  • Save 650 artic lorries of food otherwise destined for waste.

We also built in a feedback mechanism, asking colleagues for their views on the initiative and how they are going to make changes to their actions in store and at home.  98% of comments were positive and commitments of what actions people were going to take or change.  We’ve seen also highly positive engagement scores for our sustainability efforts in their annual engagement survey. 

How did we do it?


We created a range of videos, interviews and animations to make the information about food waste really easy to digest.

We use the interviews to frame how people in their specific roles are taking on the challenge of food waste.

Videos showcase how stores are running the latest methods.

Animations explain complex concepts like anaerobic digestion.

Gamified Learning

This is the feature that made this training unique and is the star of the piece. After each section, we created a quiz-style game. This makes the training fun (stats show this helps learning). The game has the concept of being a zeroaire. The gameplay has features such as a timer, ask the audience, multiple-choice and phone a friend.

To boost engagement, we gamified the experience, creating a leaderboard for each store so the learning has a competitive edge and becomes a talking point.

Make it digital

The experience is digital-first. The story progresses seamlessly through the slides, providing an end to end experience, which means everyone in Tesco can complete it in a time that suits the organisation.

In Partnership with QA

This experience was built in partnership with QA. QA are specialists in technology – who provide a comprehensive suite of talent and training services to help individuals and companies be winners in the digital revolution.


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