ESS Partners with Olio to Cut Food Waste

07 December 2023

The Defence, Marine & Aerospace sector of ESS, part of Compass Group UK & Ireland, is partnering with community sharing app Olio to redistribute good-to-eat surplus food to members of the local community. The company is donating pre-packed products and fresh fruit and vegetables that are close to their use by date from its stores, cafes and restaurants. This is supporting a reduction in food waste and helping local people in need. 

The Olio app enables businesses and individuals to upload the details of food and non-food items that they no longer want so they can be reallocated to people who do want them, giving the goods a second life. The app has 7 million users globally and just over 100,000 volunteers collecting unsold food from participating businesses.

Following a successful trial at military sites where ESS operates in the West Midlands, the programme has been extended to cover its establishments in the South West and Wales. Olio is now collecting excess food from 46 ESS sites and has delivered some fantastic results to date.

Since the partnership commenced in July, there have been 550 successful collections, 14,036 items or 4,598 kg of edible food saved, amounting to 9,689 meals, and 833 unique households fed. This equates to 17,550 kg of CO2 emissions and over 3 million litres of water saved.

There are plans to roll out the partnership further to cover ESS’ military contracts across the UK as well as the company’s Government Services contracts.

Saasha Celestial-One, COO and Co-founder – Olio, said:

“We’re delighted to be expanding our partnership with Compass and ESS into their Defence, Marine & Aerospace business. It’s brilliant to see such a strong commitment to fighting food waste from such major players in the contract catering sector. Our joint impact over just a few months has been impressive, so we can’t wait to see what we can achieve for local communities in future.”

 Bob Gray, Managing Director – ESS Defence, Marine & Aerospace commented:

Compass Group UK & Ireland has committed to a 50% reduction in food waste by 2030 as part of its Climate Net Zero roadmap. We aim to minimise food waste wherever possible, but in a business our size some excess is inevitable. It’s fantastic to be working with Olio, an expert in redistributing products to those who need them, to help us minimise our environmental impact and positively affect people’s lives in the local communities around our sites.”