Tesco partners with OLIO in ground-breaking scheme to cut food waste

An innovative scheme to stop more surplus food from going to waste and re-distribute it amongst members of the local community will be rolled out across the UK by Tesco. 

The supermarket has partnered with food sharing app and social enterprise OLIO to help reduce food waste in stores across the UK in a move which should help feed more people in crisis in the local community. 

The new partnership builds on Tesco’s existing food surplus donations programme, including its Community Food Connection scheme with FareShare, which already sees it donate 2 million meals every month to food charities across the UK.

The partnership with OLIO follows a successful six month trial, which was held earlier this year, at 250 Tesco stores which had the most food surplus and which saw a high rate of pick up. 

It resulted in: 

  • Nearly 195,000 portions of food being saved 
  • Nearly 4,200 people being fed 
  • The equivalent of 93,000 meals being saved 

Anyone downloading the app will be able to see food items nearing their expiry date available to be collected in their area for free, via non-contact pick-up.   

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. 

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.” 

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

The three-month trial which took place from December till the end of February resulted in 36 tonnes of food redistributed. 

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.” 

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. 

In 2016, Tesco launched the UK’s biggest food redistribution scheme, Community Food Connection (CFC), through which surplus food from Tesco stores is donated daily to local charities and community groups.  

Olio will collect where charities are unable to or we don’t have charities available. 

To date around 100 million meals have been donated to more than 7,000 charity and community groups from Tesco stores and distribution centres. 

This is part of the retailer’s pledge that no food safe for human consumption will go to waste. 


Note to editors: 


  • To share, users simply snap a picture of their items and add them to OLIO 
  • Neighbours then receive customised alerts and can request anything that takes their fancy. Pickup is arranged via private messaging within the app, and often takes place the same day 

  • Fifty per cent of all food listings added to the app are requested in less than 1 hour! 

  • Eighty per cent of listings are food. However, OLIO also has a non-food section where items such as toiletries, cosmetics, kitchen equipment, books, toys and clothes are also shared 

  • All listings are added to OLIO are given away for free 

  • OLIO is available as a mobile app (iOS and Android) and a web app on

  • Tesco works with almost 7000 charity partners and has donated around 100 million meals to people in need (including donations from our Distribution Centres). 
  • We work with the FareShare charity which helps us to match stores with local charities and community groups 

  • FoodCloud provides the technology that allows us to communicate with the charities and community groups 

  • Our Tesco Food Collection programme encourages customers to donate long-life food to our charity partners, The Trussell Trust, who have a network of over 400 foodbanks, and FareShare, who redistribute surplus food to a network of charities including homeless hostels, women’s refuges and breakfast clubs. 

  • Our partnership with OLIO enables them to only collect when a charity is not available or unable to do so. 


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