Tesco partners with OLIO to cut food waste

Nick Gladding
Senior Retail Analyst

Date : 17 September 2020

Following a successful trial, Tesco has teamed up with social enterprise and food sharing app OLIO to help reduce food waste in stores and feed more people in crisis. The new partnership builds on Tesco’s existing food surplus donations programme, including its Community Food Connection scheme with FareShare, through which 2 million meals per month are donated to food charities across the UK.

How OLIO works

The scheme works with the help of OLIO’s 8,000+ local volunteer ‘Food Waste Heroes’ who 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 onto the OLIO app, ready to be re-distributed free to those living nearby as well as to community groups. OLIO app users can then pick items up, from an agreed, contact-free collection point and because of social-distancing measures needed right now food items can be left in a front garden or wall outside someone’s house. 

In return for their efforts, ‘Food Waste Heroes’ are allowed to keep 10 per cent of what they collect from stores should they want to. OLIO is registered with the Food Standards Agency which ensures that all food collected is safe for human consumption. 

Successful trial results

During the trial at the 250 Tesco stores that had the most surplus food, the scheme resulted in nearly 195,000 portions of food being saved, enough to feed 4,200 people. Held between December and February, 36 tonnes of food were redistributed during the trial.

Making sure no good food is wasted

Commenting on the initiative, Tesco Head of Communities Claire De Silva said “We are very proud of our food waste work and our Community Food Connection scheme with FareShare helps thousands of charities every week.  Right now 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 initial trial were very positive and have allowed us to further roll out the partnership in our commitment to make sure no good food goes to waste.”