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Tesco, the largest supermarket chain in UK, recognises food waste to be a direct contributor to climate change. The Food Waste (FW) project is considered an integral part of Tesco’s new purpose, which is

“Serving our customers, communities and planet a little better every day”

In order to reduce food waste, Tesco wanted to make it easier for Tesco employees (known as colleagues) working in stores and the head office to take products that were expiring that day for free. This live initiative was called Colleague Shop (CS). However, in order for Tesco colleagues to take home the free products, a long-winded process had to be followed. As a result, products never made it to CS and would end up going to waste before Tesco employees even got a chance to view what they could take for free.

During peak Covid, I worked remotely as a Senior User Experience (UX) Designer, alongside the product, engineering, business, transformation and eventually the analytics team. Collectively known as the FW Team. Our target audience were Tesco store managers and the store colleagues using the FW app to add products into CS.

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The project kicked off with a workshop with the entire FW team (excluding analytics at this stage). We started with understanding the current domain from the various stakeholders and aimed to define the problem statements and the goals we wanted to achieve. The biggest challenge we had at the start was that the product, business and transformation teams had a very vague understanding of the problem space.

My expected contribution was to help design the new app and process through insights from on ground research with colleagues. While the qualitative research was taking place, I encouraged the FW team to include the analytics team as well. This would give us rich behavioural insight on how the app had been used over a period of time.

While the qualitative research helped to understood the painpoints faced by colleagues doing the process in stores, the quantitative research helped to understood colleague behaviour across the Tesco estate over a period of time. This helped the FW team to define measurable problem statements and goals.


Keeping all the findings and insights in mind, I went to the drawing board and presented two concepts to the FW team. While creating the concepts I ensured they both worked for all store formats. The screens below showcase the artefacts created to present the two concepts to the team.

At this point, the most important topic of discussion was with the engineering team. We needed to evaluate if the Stock API team would work with us. If yes, then would they be able to differentiate “Best before” and “Use by” products when an item was scanned. Being able to do this would mean that colleagues would not need prior knowledge about products to make decisions.

After much deliberation and discussions, we got approval to work with the Stock API team and the FW team decided to go with concept 2.


I captured in detail the various scenarios for using the app, the different type of products that would be added and how they varied according to format. For example, the different types of products included: packaged products, variable weight products, loose products and bag of loose products.

I worked on the hi-fidelity designs and the product cards for the different type of products and scenarios.

Once the first iteration of the end to end journey was created, UX research was conducted with a mix of remote research and in-store visits. I used rapid prototyping to make amends between research sessions to ensure we were continuously taking feedback and improving designs.


"This will make our life easier and save us a lot of time"

"A lot easier as not everybody understands Best before, use by, carry forward"

"It's pretty good even for new starters"


A few key engineering team members were part of our weekly stand ups and were up to speed with how the designs were progressing. After making all the changes from the research insights, the final UI designs were handed over to the engineering team on Figma. I supported the build by being part of the sprint stand ups, refinement sessions and demos.


Once the app was ready, the business team created a training manual and sent out comms to the first 200 stores going in trial. The trial has been going on in 200 stores spread across the Tesco estate for 2 months. The research and analytics team are capturing data and we are working together on minor tweaks. The roadmap is to migrate 200 additional stores every week till the full Tesco estate is on the new Food Waste app and process.


1. Reduction in cost estimated to be £930,000 per annum.
2. Faster process.
3. Reduced cognitive load for colleagues and as a result reduced errors.


1. Well-defined problem statement(s) and goal(s) can help keep the team focused when making decisions.

2. Create algorithms that use existing information to make decisions and reduce the cognitive workload of users.

3. While hitting blockers, recall and appreciate achievements so far to keep the team momentum going.

4. Conduct retrospectives at the end of projects to improve ways of working. Read more about it under Leadership.

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