Tesco has saved 30 million meals from going to waste through its partnership with leading surplus food app Olio.
The food sharing platform has a network of 80,000 volunteers that collect surplus food still fit for consumption from Tesco stores in their local community.
The partnership builds on the existing food surplus donations programme at the UK’s largest retailer, including its Community Food Connection scheme with FareShare, which has been running since 2016.
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In August 2020, Tesco became the first supermarket to partner with Olio, making sure its unsold surplus food reaches people across local communities, rather than going to waste. In the first year alone, Olio and Tesco saved 5.8 million meals from being wasted.
All items on Olio are re-distributed for free to those living nearby. Local people can then request items via Olio’s app, and pick them up from an agreed collection point.
FareShare supports frontline charities and community groups working with children – from summer holiday clubs and breakfast clubs to community kitchens, and groups which supply food parcels to those facing food insecurity.
Olio is able to plug the gaps by collecting items that FareShare is unable to redistribute, ensuring minimal food waste occurs at Tesco stores.
Speaking about the partnership is Olio Food Waste Hero Andrea Teixeira, who collects from three Tesco stores in Wiltshire: “After collecting from stores for 5 months now, I have seen first-hand how it’s having a vast impact in our community and helping both families and the environment.
“Since starting as a Food Waste Hero, I have redistributed over 3,700 meals – it’s such an incredible feeling to see those meals go to people who really appreciate them.”
Campaigns Director at Tesco, Kené Umeasiegbu said: “It’s an enormous achievement to have diverted 30 million meals to those who need it most, as part of our partnership with Olio.
“That’s why our partnerships with organisations like Olio and Fareshare are so important, helping us to divert surplus food to people in our communities.”
Co-founder of Olio, Saasha Celestial-One commented: “We are overjoyed that our partnership with Tesco has now resulted in 30 million meals saved, and that those meals have impacted the lives of so many families up and down the UK.”
She added: “We’re really grateful to our volunteers, who have been so crucial to the success of our founding partnership with Tesco. We’re proud to be working with a true pioneer in the retail sector.”
However, Celestial-One goes on to say that there’s more the sector can do to fight food waste: “We hope the success of our partnership with Tesco pushes other businesses to consider how they can take a more proactive approach to minimising waste, supporting local communities and ultimately mitigating against the worst effects of climate change.”