A free local sharing app has prevented the equivalent of 312,000 meals from going to waste in just over a year – with 15,000 set to be saved and shared over Christmas week
Featured on: breakingnews.ie
Olio’s Food Waste Heroes have collected 131 tonnes of edible food in total from Tesco Ireland stores – or an average 6,000 meals a week – to redistribute for free throughout the country, since the app first partnered with the supermarket in November 2021.
An army of 1,800 volunteers have signed up to become Food Waste Heroes, with hundreds visiting Tesco Ireland supermarkets daily to collect unsold food that is still fit for consumption – and list it for free on the app so that others in the community can collect and consume it.
On Christmas Eve, Food Waste Heroes will collect surplus food from 30 Tesco stores, including Dolphin’s Barn in Dublin, Mullingar in Co Westmeath and Tuam, Co Galway.
“As we enter a time where food waste is often at its highest, it is great to see such an active community of people joining together to fight waste, while helping out their neighbours,” said Tessa Clarke, co-founder and CEO of Olio.
“Our great partnership with Tesco Ireland has resulted in a massive 656,000 items of food being diverted from going to waste in just over a year.
“Food waste accounts for one-third of all greenhouse gas emissions and is the single largest emitting sector.
“If we are to fix the climate crisis, preventing food waste should be a priority.”
Fruit and veg (37%) accounted for the most shared items, followed by dairy and eggs (32%) and bakery (24%).
Olio user, Sarah Karam, 33, signed up as a Food Waste Hero in June, collecting from two Tesco Ireland stores in Waterford. She has so far given away 526 items, saving the equivalent of over 1,260 meals and 396k litres of water.
“It took a couple of weeks to get established but I have people who regularly collect from me now and any food I post on Olio is gone within an hour,” she said.
“Fruit, veg and ready-made meals are always the first to go.
“I’ve made some great friends through the app – including other food waste heroes in Waterford.
‘We help each other out and are all determined to reduce the environmental impact of food waste. Food waste in my own home is now less than 1%.”
After Dublin, Cork, Louth, Limerick and Waterford were the most active counties using Olio to share food with the app’s 72,000 Irish subscribers.
More than 1,800 people in Ireland have signed up to be Food Waste Heroes since November last year, with 534 collections made each week across the country.
“Tesco Ireland has been donating surplus food through our partnership with FoodCloud since 2014. Last year we made the decision to partner with Olio to help us expand our surplus food donations programme,” said Rosemary Garth, Communications Director, Tesco Ireland.
“This step was another major milestone towards helping us achieve our ambition to ensure that no good food goes to waste.
“Thanks to Olio and their team of flexible volunteers, in 2022 we can increase our Christmas food rescue efforts, making sure as much food as possible ends up feeding people in the communities that surround our stores.
“Based on donations over the last year, we estimate that 2,400 meals will be rescued by Olio food waste heroes this Christmas Eve alone.”
The Olio app can be downloaded from Google Play and Apple app stores. The desktop version is also accessible via olioex.com.