Age of Awareness
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Age of Awareness

Behind the smokescreen…

Scenes like the above are taking place at tens of thousands of locations across the country, every single day. This isn’t food being packaged up to be redistributed — it’s food being packaged up to be thrown away.

Whenever a concerned citizen calls this out, either in-store or on social media, they’re invariably met with a well-intentioned response from the company which goes something like this…. “At {insert company name}, we have a policy of not wasting food. We work tirelessly with {insert name of food discounting app} and {insert name of charity redistributor} to ensure no good food goes to waste.”

Except it does.

Every single day.

Unfortunately in the vast majority of cases that canned response is enough to deflect the concerned shopper’s unwanted attention, and the company carries on doing exactly what it was doing — throwing away perfectly good food.


Because no discounting app is able to sell ALL the leftover food a business has.

And because the charitable sector is currently redistributing only ~5–10% of the industry’s surplus food, and even once fully scaled will only be able to absorb ~25% (according to the CEO of Fareshare, the UK’s largest charitable redistributor). So that leaves a whopping 75% of the industry’s unsold food with nowhere to go…

Food waste from a UK supermarket

That’s where OLIO’s community based solution steps in. We have 30,000+ trained volunteers (Food Waste Heroes we call them) who spring into action and collect ALL the unsold food from their local store; they take it home, add it to the app, their neighbours request it & then pop round to pick it up.

On average it takes just 2 hours for food considered a ‘waste stream’ in the store/canteen to instead be fully redistributed into multiple homes in the local community. Feeding bellies, not bins and tackling the climate crisis at the same time — a real win:win.

An OLIO Food Waste Hero + OLIO community member at the doorstep handover

So next time you see perfectly good food being bagged up for the bin and get fobbed off with the standard ‘food waste policy’ response, why not push back and ask:

— Are ALL your stores working with app X/charity Y?

— Do they take ALL of your unsold food?

Why not try working with OLIO to achieve truly zero food waste stores?

Please do let us know how you get on! And if you need any support don’t hesitate to reach out to us on, we’d be delighted to help.




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Tessa Clarke

Tessa Clarke

Co-Founder & CEO of OLIO, the food sharing app. Getting my head around the climate crisis. Passionate about sustainability, startups & diversity.

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