Tesco and OLIO launch the UK’s largest food sharing scheme

UK supermarket chain Tesco has joined together with food sharing app OLIO to challenge excess food waste and provide for local communities.

A trial was held earlier this year that saw OLIO and Tesco work together in 250 stores. Over the six months they managed to save nearly 195,000 portions of food and feed nearly 4,200 people.

Hands holding apples and phone with OLIO appMembers of the public can download the OLIO app that will then show a list of food items in the local area that are nearing their expiry date.

OLIO has over 8,000 volunteers who collect surplus food from Tesco, bring it home and then upload onto the system. It is then redistributed for free to individuals in neighbouring areas and community groups.

The food can be picked up in a socially-distanced manner from the volunteer’s garden or wall.

OLIO is growing increasingly popular with 50 per cent of all food on the app being requested in less than an hour.

Levels of food waste remain significant in the UK, with 9.5 million tonnes of food thrown out every year, despite a fall of seven per cent over the past three years, according to the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP).

Tesco Head of Communities Claire De Silva said: “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.” 

The scheme will be rolled out across the UK and follows Tesco being ranked the top supermarket for food waste prevention. The company’s Community Food Connection scheme with FareShare is currently donating two million meals every month to food charities across the UK.

Tackling food waste has been a major part of Tesco’s sustainability strategy since 2009, when it made a commitment to stop sending food products to landfill.

Tesco has previously called on the government to introduce mandatory food waste reporting and in 2018 it made the pioneering move to scrap ‘best before’ labels from packaging.

The link-up with OLIO follows Tesco’s recent launch of a campaign with Hubbub, called the ‘No Time For Waste Challenge’ to encourage people to maintain good attitudes to food waste following the easing of the Covid-19 lockdown.

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