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Tesco partners with food sharing app in scheme to cut waste

Kalila Sangster
·3-min read
 A view of Tesco Extra logo outside its store in north London. Thursday 9 Jan 2020 Tesco plc will publish its third quarter and Christmas trading statement. (Photo by Dinendra Haria / SOPA Images/Sipa USA)
Tesco made a commitment to stop sending food products to landfill in 2009 as part of its sustainability strategy. Photo: Dinendra Haria/SOPA Images/Sipa USA

Tesco (TSCO.L) has partnered with food sharing app and social enterprise Olio in a new scheme to help reduce food waste in stores across the UK.

The supermarket will donate surplus food nearing its sell-by date to the app to be re-distributed free to people living nearby as well as to community groups.

The food will be collected from stores by Olio’s local volunteer “food waste heroes” who will take the food back to their homes and upload the items onto the app.

Olio app users will then be able to see the donated items and collect them for free from an agreed, contact-free collection point in order to observe social distancing measures.

Olio is registered with the Food Standards Agency which ensures that all food collected is safe for human consumption.

The partnership comes after a six-month trial held earlier this year, at 250 Tesco stores which had the most food surplus.

READ MORE: Tesco to create 16,000 new permanent jobs

The trial led to nearly 195,000 portions of food being saved, nearly 4,200 people being fed and the equivalent of 93,000 meals being saved, according to Olio. Some 36 tonnes of food were redistributed between December 2019 and the end of February 2020 as part of the trial.

Tesco will donate surplus food to Olio where charities are unavailable to collect food items that would otherwise go to waste.

Tesco made a commitment to stop sending food products to landfill in 2009 as part of its sustainability strategy and made a pledge that no food safe for human consumption will go to waste.

The new partnership builds on the supermarket’s existing food donations programmes, including its Community Food Connection scheme with food waste charity FareShare who redistribute surplus food to a network of charities including homeless hostels, women’s refuges and breakfast clubs.

READ MORE: UK supermarkets hire 136,000 staff during pandemic

Tesco already donates 2 million meals every month to food charities across the UK, through the Community Food Connection scheme, according to the company. The retailer says 100 million meals have been donated to more than 7,000 charity and community groups from Tesco stores and distribution centres to date.

The supermarket also uses its Tesco Food Collection programme to encourage customers to donate long-life food to The Trussell Trust, who have a network of over 400 foodbanks in the UK.

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.”

READ MORE: M&S trials drive-through collection

Olio co-founder, Tessa Clarke said: “Our partnership with Tesco means that more people than ever before will be able to benefit from access to surplus food.

“They’ll also be joining our community of neighbours who not only support one another, but also believe that every little counts in the fight against food waste.”