More and more these days, the hot commodity at convenience stores is foodservice, including grab-and-go solutions and fresh prepared items. But with the increase in on-site foodservice comes a dilemma—what to do with the unused, but still edible food?
Local volunteers using OLIO, a food-sharing app, have prevented 16,765 meals from going to waste in the past year. In August 2020, Tesco became the first supermarket to partner with OLIO, which provides unsold surplus food fit for consumption to people in the community.
And in the first full year of the partnership, OLIO’s local network of ‘Food Waste Heroes’ saved food that people could then put to good use for themselves, their families and others in their communities. The volunteers collect the food, upload the items 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. 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 (UK) shows the strength of the partnership between our store colleagues and OLIO’s Food Waste Heroes.” Saasha Celestial-One, co-founder of OLIO, added: “Our partnership with Tesco has been a huge success this year, 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. Feeding America also fighting against food waste and building the capacity for food pantries to accept more perishable items by connecting with the donation partners through a program called MealConnect, which is an app,”. “The tagline of it is ‘food recovery simplified.’ Last year alone, Feeding America members distributed more than 1.8 billion pounds of fresh produce. Convenience retailers have long been involved with meal and food giveaways and donations and C-stores in association includes Maverik, Casey’s, 7-Eleven and the EG Group (Cumberland Farms).