Volunteers link with Tesco to save more than 40,000 meals

By Barrie Hudson - 27 August 2021

  • The store giant partnered with the app

    The store giant partnered with the app

Food Waste Heroes in Swindon have prevented 41,341 meals from going to waste in the past year.

The achievement is thanks to a partnership between Tesco and food-sharing app OLIO. 

In August of last year Tesco became the first supermarket to partner with OLIO, which provides unsold surplus food fit for consumption to people in the community. 

In the first full year of the partnership, OLIO’s Swindon network of Food Waste Heroes saved food that people could then put to good use for themselves, their families and others in their communities.

Claire De Silva, Tesco Head of Communities, said: “Tesco is committed to tackling food waste and we were confident our partnership with OLIO would help with that, but its impact has exceeded all our expectations. 

“For our partnership to have diverted more than 5 million surplus meals from going to waste nationally shows the strength of the partnership between our store colleagues and OLIO’s Food Waste Heroes.” 

The partnership builds on Tesco’s existing food surplus donations programme, including its Community Food Connection scheme with FareShare.

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 Food Waste Heroes collect food when charities supported by FareShare are unable to do so, and they can then take it back to their homes.  

These items are immediately uploaded onto the OLIO app, ready to be redistributed free to those living nearby and to community groups. OLIO app users can then pick items up from an agreed, contact-free collection point. 

OLIO, which has been running since 2016, has provided more than 120 million meals to charities and community groups across the UK, with more than 5 million coming from Tesco.

Saasha Celestial-One, co-founder of OLIO, said: “Our partnership with Tesco has been a huge success this year, and we’re incredibly proud to have delivered so many meals that would have otherwise been wasted to communities across the UK. Tesco has been a true pioneer.

“But our work is far from done. We hope this partnership encourages other businesses to follow suit and consider how they can take a more proactive approach to minimising waste and supporting communities. Just imagine what we could achieve if every business followed their lead.”

Tesco prides itself on having led the way in tackling food waste for many years. It has not sent any food waste to landfill since 2009, and in 2013 Tesco became the first UK retailer to publish its food waste data.

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