Olio food-waste app seeking symbol group partners

Olio’s volunteers collect surplus food and donate it to those in need

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Surplus-food distributor Olio is seeking more symbol group partners, after it joined forces with Booker, One Stop and Tesco to donate 153 million meals to families.

The company, in partnership with FareShare, started the year-long campaign with the convenience and wholesale businesses, alongside hospitality companies, last summer.

Olio worked with One Stop’s entire convenience estate and Booker warehouses across the UK to donate the meals.

The 153 million figure represents 75% of an intended 200 million target, but the company said it was “still delighted with the outcome”.

Although the company is yet to determine whether it plans to start another major summer campaign, Olio senior marketing manager Cozzi Baring told Better Retailing it would continue similar projects and is targeting more symbol groups.

She said: “We will be following up with similar campaigns in the future and we’ve got no plans to stop what we’re doing with businesses to turn surplus food into meals for communities.

“When we started the campaign, we wanted to put out a call to action to businesses we weren’t already working with and hadn’t already committed to doing something about surplus food.

“We can take any type of food from retailers, whether that’s chilled, fresh or ambient, such as pre-packed sandwiches, crisps or vegetables. We are also unique in that we can redistribute hot food safely through our food-management system.

“Right now, we’re not able to partner with any single independent stores, as we work more with larger multi-site retailers. However, we welcome all enquiries, and we can look at making certain things work.”

Retailers who are partnered with Olio inform the company if there is surplus food at their site.

Olio’s volunteers then collect the food to donate to those in need.

Baring said highlighting partnerships with companies such as Olio can help stores raise their profiles as community-focused businesses within their local areas.

She added: “We’ve got an experienced team of food-waste experts who can work out the best solution for retailers. Our volunteers are incredibly flexible. If someone might need collections every day or only twice a week, we can adapt around that.

“We have national coverage through our 90,000 volunteers, so we can match retailers with someone.”

Posting about the campaign on social media, Booker said: “Booker is proud to have played a part in helping rescue 153 million meals and redistribute them to UK families that need them.”

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