The Midcounties Co-operative is teaming up with food-sharing app OLIO to reduce food waste. Through the app, individuals and businesses can upload images of leftover food, which can then be collected by other users for free.
The retailer will be piloting the scheme in Oxfordshire, and aims to roll it out across its 225 food stores. Midcounties is also working with food banks across its trading area. Last year the society donated over 73,000 products from colleagues, members and customers.
OLIO was launched in 2015 by Tessa Cook and Saasha Celestial-One, two friends who wanted to tackle the issue of food waste. The app was primarily designed to enable people to give away unwanted food to their neighbours or those living nearby. The platform can now be used for non-food household items as well.
Phil Ponsonby, chief executive for trading at Midcounties, said: “In the past few years we’ve worked closely with local foodbanks to donate food items to those in need. The partnership with OLIO is a great opportunity for us to donate on a larger scale, and reduce our CO2 emissions by reducing our food waste.
“The Midcounties Co-operative is committed to giving back to local communities and to sustainability. We look forward to seeing the impact of the initiative in Banbury and are already making plans to introduce it nationwide.”
Mr Ponsonb will be stepping up as Midcounties group chief executive, following the retirement of Ben Reid at the end of July.
Tessa Cook, co-founder at OLIO, added: “Since we launched we’ve prevented more than 250,000 meals from going to waste and we look forward to seeing this number continue to rise as we work with Midcounties. The OLIO app makes sharing food simple as individuals can see food available near them and easily request it.
“Our aim is to create a more sustainable future by encouraging people to share food with those who want or need it, rather than letting it go to waste. The food items that one individual is prepared to throw in the bin could be the ingredients for another family’s feast.”