Growth in British businesses committing to reduce food waste

OLIO, the sustainability pioneer which helps businesses, such as retailers and foodservice operators, share their surplus food with local communities before it goes to waste, has seen 100% growth in corporate listings  since the onset of lockdown.

In March, as many businesses across the UK closed their doors, OLIO’s team of 9,000 Food Waste Heroes went into overdrive, saving over 70 tonnes of unused food from thousands of sites up until the end of June.

Now, as the UK emerges out of lockdown, OLIO is reporting that the growing trend of businesses using the Food Waste Heroes programme is showing no signs of slowing.

Thousands of companies across retail, foodservice, leisure, B&I and catering have currently signed up to use the service. Current retail customers include Planet Organic and Pret-a-Manger and caterers such as Compass Group UK and Elior.  Customers from industries such as events, offices, education, hotels, production, distribution and many more have also seen the benefits. The partnership not only improves their sustainability and community credentials but also reduces associated costs of removing food waste.

Founded in 2015 by Stanford Business School alumni, Tessa Clarke and Saasha Celestial-One, OLIO has quickly grown from a local initiative in North London to a global food sharing movement, spanning more than 52 countries, thanks to its active and dedicated community of 2 million people.

Martin Rohleder, head of OLIO for business, explained: “Besides the massive impact that food waste has on the environment, food waste also costs money and damages company reputations, both internally and externally. The COVID pandemic exacerbated the problem of food waste and also highlighted the incredible issue of food insecurity within the UK – so now more than ever, businesses need to ensure they’re being both socially and environmentally responsible.

“Food waste for businesses is completely unnecessary simply because a solution already exists. Our organisation has been built expressly for the purpose of collecting and redistributing edible, surplus food of all types across local communities before it goes to waste. We’ve made it our mission to do this in the most timely, efficient and pain-free manner, so that becoming a zero-food waste business is an achievable goal for every organisation.”

All OLIO business customers are provided with a monthly social and environmental impact report, which details the volume of food rescued, how many local families or community groups benefitted, carbon emissions saved, litres of water saved, car miles taken off the roads and equivalent trees planted.

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