Tesco is testing low-carbon fertilizers with five of its biggest field vegetable providers as part of its efforts to increase food security in the UK and decrease emissions of greenhouse gases in its distribution chain.
According to the retailer, the action will lower greenhouse gas emissions by up to 20% within the first year at no additional cost to farmers.
In the 2023 growing season, eight fertilizer alternatives will be used across 1,300 hectares.
Tesco intends to expand the area to at least 4,000 hectares across its field vegetable suppliers by 2024.
“Supplying more budget – friendly, viable food means developing innovative, new methods for cultivating basket staples like potatoes, salad veggies, and carrots,” explained Sarah Bradbury, Tesco’s group quality director. “Fertilisers are a huge source of pollution in farming, but higher costs and ambiguity have made it difficult for growers to make use of low-carbon alternatives.
“We hope that by continuing to work with our providers, our knowledge gained from this roll-out of low carbon fertilisers can show their ability to reduce emissions and demonstrate what it would take to scale up production in the UK. It is critical that we keep costs manageable for farmers facing the most difficult market conditions in a generation and assist our customers in eating in a way that is good for the planet and pocketbook.”
Chemical fertilizers have increased 140% in price in the last year, and low-carbon fertilizers could provide a cost-effective substitute for growers facing shortages due to the Ukraine war.