Banbury chosen to pilot food waste initiative

Banbury's Co-op and OLIOhave teamed up to reduce food waste (Annabel Staff Photography) NNL-180523-133642001
Banbury's Co-op and OLIOhave teamed up to reduce food waste (Annabel Staff Photography) NNL-180523-133642001

Banbury’s Midcounties Co-operative stores have been chosen as the first to roll out a new anti food waste initiative.

Midcounties Co-op stores in Hanwell Fields and Queensway have been chosen for the trial which works in partnership with the free food-sharing app OLIO in a bid to reduce food waste and feed families.

OLIO works as an online food sharing platform enabling individuals and businesses to upload images of surplus food which can then be collected by users for free.

Results from the Hanwell Fields and Queensway stores will be used to investigate the feasibility of introducing the scheme to all 225 food stores throughout Midcounties trading areas.

This builds on the Society’s existing support of foodbanks, with over 73,000 products donated by Midcounties colleagues, members and customers last year.

Phil Ponsonby, chief executive (Trading) at The Midcounties Co-operative, said: “In the past few years we’ve worked closely with local foodbanks to donate food items to those in need. The partnership with OLIO is a great opportunity for us to donate on a larger scale, and reduce our CO2 emissions by reducing our food waste.

“The Midcounties Co-operative is committed to giving back to local communities and to sustainability. We look forward to seeing the impact of the initiative in Banbury.”

Tessa Clarke, Co-Founder at OLIO, said: “Since we launched we’ve prevented more than 250,000 meals from going to waste and we look forward to seeing this number continue to rise as we work with Midcounties.

“The OLIO app makes sharing food simple as individuals can see food available near them, and easily request it.

She added: “Our aim is to create a more sustainable future by encouraging people to share food with those who want or need it, rather than letting it go to waste. The food items that one individual is prepared to throw in the bin could be the ingredients for another family’s feast.”

In the past five years, the number of people turning to Trussell Trust food banks has increased by 318%, yet it is estimated £13 billion of food goes to waste each year.

The Midcounties Co-operative aims to help the growing number of individuals turning to foodbanks as well as tackling food waste in the UK.