Food Waste Hero for Tesco

Why are Food Waste Heroes collecting surplus food from Tesco?

Tesco is working with local charities to distribute as much of their surplus food as possible, however, there are Tesco stores where no local charity is available to collect any surplus food. Tesco and OLIO have therefore partnered so that OLIO Food Waste Heroes can come to the rescue and ensure that as much good food as possible gets saved from the bin!

Why is the food not going to charities?

Almost all of Tesco’s surplus food is going to charities. However, in some areas and stores there are no charities available. To avoid the food going to waste, OLIO Food Waste Heroes come to the rescue and collect the surplus food instead. Whenever a charity is able to take on collection days currently assigned to OLIO, they will take precedence and replace OLIO. If this happens to a Food Waste Hero’s slot, they will be notified immediately in their group chat.

How long will the collections go on for?

Due to the huge success of OLIO’s and Tesco’s partnership, both organizations agreed to scale up across the UK, to all of Tesco’s 2,700+ stores - yay! This means that by spring 2021, OLIO Food Waste Heroes will be collecting from all Tesco stores that aren’t serviced daily by charities, and hundreds of thousands of items of food will be rescued every single month. This is all thanks to OLIO Food Waste Heroes and Tesco staff making the necessary efforts to ensure good food, that is unwanted by charities, is distributed to local communities instead.

How do I know if my local Tesco is taking part?

If you cannot see any collection slots from your local Tesco store on the OLIO Volunteer Hub under ‘’Available Collection Slots’’, it’s either that: the store is being serviced by a charity, all available slots have already been claimed by other OLIOers, or we haven’t launched this store yet.

Can I approach my local Tesco store to sign them up to OLIO?

Collections from Tesco are organised centrally by OLIO. Please do not approach a store and inquire about OLIO. Instead, please check on the Volunteer Hub for any new slots becoming available.

Will my local Tesco store take part in OLIO in the future?

This depends on whether there’s a charity collecting from your local store in the future. To be notified of new collection slots becoming available in your neighbourhood, please sign up as a Food Waste Hero and enable ‘Notifications’ for new collection slots on the Volunteer Hub.

How much food would I collect from my local Tesco?

The amount of food varies on each collection from store to store, and day to day. If it was the same amount each day, Tesco would stock less in store... Luckily, the store will estimate the amount and type of food before each collection. However, please note this is an estimation and might change depending on whether the store sells any of the food last minute.

Tesco estimates the amount of food in ‘number of trays’. A tray generally refers to one of Tesco’s green plastic boxes used for home delivery and you might have seen them in-store in the produce section.

What type of food could I collect?

You can expect all types of food, and sometimes non-food items as well, like flowers or cleaning products! If you need a refresher on handling different food types please consult the Inductions and Documents sections on the Volunteer Hub or speak to your Squad Captain.

Please note that for morning collections you will receive food with a ‘Best before’ date of the previous day (e.g., bread, pastries, fruit, vegetables). These are absolutely safe for you to share with your neighbours via OLIO, as long as they look/smell safe to eat. Do not share anything on OLIO you wouldn’t eat yourself.

Do I need a car?

No! A car is not mandatory but it might be useful for larger collections. More important than having a car is to bring sturdy bags with you, please.

I want to use my car for my collections, where can I park it?

Large stores will most likely have a car park you can use. Small stores might not have one. Please check for parking before setting off for your first collection. 

Can I get reimbursed for gas and/or parking fees?

Unfortunately we don’t reimburse any gas or parking costs - we’d also like to encourage you to walk, cycle, or take public transport like the vast majority of Food Waste Heroes, wherever possible.

Do I need a cool bag?

No, cool bags are not mandatory but you are welcome to use one, if you prefer.

What time are the collections?

The collection time at most Tesco stores is either at 8.30pm weekdays (earlier on weekends) or between 7-10am. You can see the exact collection time of a collection slot before claiming it on the Volunteer Hub.

What days are the Tesco pick-ups?

Please check which days are available on the Volunteer Hub, under ‘Available Collection Slots’.

How many Tesco collection slots can I claim?

OLIO Food Waste Heroes have totally wow-ed Tesco, and therefore OLIO is currently being rolled out at thousands of stores across the UK! This is why you can temporarily claim up to 4 weekly collection slots. We might need to reduce this in the future to allow as many people as possible to collect and receive some food.

Do I need to call ahead of my collection?

No, please do not call the store before your collection. To confirm if there’s any food for you to collect, please check your Squad’s group chat, in the ‘Messages’ section of the OLIO app. 

OLIO’s Little Helper will send a message in your Squad’s group chat, usually between 7.30-8:30pm for evening/next morning collections, or between 1-3pm for collections on Sundays. If you haven't received a confirmation message whether there's food to collect, please assume a collection is not needed.

Please do not set off for your Tesco collection before receiving the confirmation message in the group chat to avoid you a wasted journey and confusion in-store!

Where do I find my Tesco group chat?

When you successfully claim a collection slot, you are automatically added to a group chat, right within the OLIO app. The group chat is located under ‘Messages’. The chat image is a Tesco logo and the title is the name of the store you are collecting from.

Once you complete or choose to end your collections from the store, you are automatically removed from the group chat.

How can I report an issue about my Tesco collection? 

Please use this form to report an issue to us. We will investigate and escalate to Tesco HQ if necessary.