Tesco to work with sharing app Olio in bid to drive down food waste

Tesco is to join forces with the food sharing app and social enterprise Olio in a drive to stop edible surplus food from going to waste in the UK and help feed more people in crisis in the local community.

Thousands of people regularly give away food and other household items to their neighbours for free through Olio, but this is its first national partnership with a major supermarket chain.

Tesco is rolling out the scheme to all 2,700 branches of its UK branches, enlisting the help of Olio’s 8,000-plus local volunteers who will visit Tesco stores to collect surplus food nearing its sell-by date.

The food is taken back to their homes, with the items immediately uploaded on to the Olio app, ready to be re-distributed free to households and community groups. Pick-up is then arranged via private messaging within the app, from an agreed, contact-free collection point.

The partnership builds on Tesco’s existing food surplus donations programme, including its Community Food Connection scheme with the redistribution charity FareShare, through which it already donates 2m meals every month to charities across the UK.

It follows a successful six-month trial, held earlier this year, at 250 Tesco stores which had the most surplus food, including fresh fruit and vegetables, and bakery items. That led to 36 tonnes of food being redistributed, with half of all food listings added to the app requested in less than one hour.

Globally, a third of all food produced is wasted, and in the UK, households account for half of all waste – binning more than £15bn of edible food and costing families £730 per annum. Supermarkets have also been criticised for wasting food in their supply chains that could be diverted to food banks, amid record demand as a result of Covid-19.

Earlier this week the UK’s largest food bank network, the Trussell Trust, warned that UK destitution rates will double by Christmas alongside an explosion in demand for charity food parcels, as coronavirus job retention and income support schemes are wound down.

“We are very proud of our food waste work and our scheme with FareShare helps thousands of charities every week” said Tesco’s head of communities, Claire de Silva. “We want to make sure that any surplus food is being managed and people who need it have access to it. The results of our trial have allowed us to roll out the partnership in our commitment to make sure no good food goes to waste.”

The Guardian

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