In celebration of Stop Food Waste Day, Central Co-op has announced its partnership with food sharing app Olio.

Through this collaboration, Olio volunteers will rescue good food directly from Central Co-op stores at the end of each day and share it with members of the surrounding community in as little as 30 minutes.

The initiative joins Central Co-op’s waste management and social responsibility milestones over the years, from becoming zero to landfill in 2012 to aligning with the government’s waste hierarchy framework and working with food waste charities since 2017.

Olio’s and its food-safety trained ‘Food Waste Hero’ volunteers will play a vital role in this partnership, collecting surplus food from Central Co-op stores, taking it home, and advertising it on the Olio app for individuals or groups to collect free of charge.

The partnership promises to maximise community benefit while minimising waste, empowering more individuals and families to access essential resources,.

Central Co-op said that this is especially important during the ongoing cost of living crisis, and when so many families are struggling to access the food they need.

During the partnership’s rollout phase, 351,488 items were saved, 106,022kg of food rescued (equivalent to 17 elephants) and 194,505 meals equivalent saved - benefiting 6,848 individual households.

Hannah Gallimore social change manager at Central Co-op explained that the collaboration with Olio marks a significant step forward in Central Coop’s mission to combat food waste and food poverty.

“By leveraging the power of technology and community engagement, we are making a tangible difference in the lives of individuals and families while advancing in sustainability practices,” she said.

Saasha Celestial-One co-founder of Olio commented: “We’re incredibly proud of the impact we’ve achieved already. It’s incredible to see the engagement and passion of Central Co-op colleagues across all of their stores, which has led to a massive buzz of positivity amongst our volunteers and the wider Olio community”.