The company will this week be launching the scheme with Olio, a local sharing app which helps businesses to reduce food waste by re-distributing whatever’s left at the end of each day to nearby residents, made possible by Olio’s nationwide network of volunteers.
Any food or ingredients which can’t be used by St Austell’s managed pub estate will be collected by Olio volunteers at the end of each day. Those volunteers then upload pictures of that food to the Olio app for people living nearby to request and collect - often in as little as 30 minutes. That way, good-to-eat food from businesses can feed local people rather than going to waste.
The brewery already composts all its food waste to generate electricity and fertiliser for the South West, but this new redistribution partnership goes one step further in reducing waste and greenhouse gases. St Austell Brewery is the first UK pub company to join forces with Olio.
Elle Sambrook, St Austell Brewery’s head of sustainability, said:
“This groundbreaking partnership will allow our business to reduce its food waste while supporting local communities, so it’s mutually beneficial. As a business, we have set ourselves big goals including eliminating edible waste and reaching net zero by 2040.
“It’s incredibly uplifting to see our pub teams getting behind the scheme to fight food waste while supporting their locals. Community is at the heart of our pubs and the teams go above and beyond to support those around them.”
In a recent trial, which took place for six weeks across nine of the brewery’s pubs, more than 300 portions of food were donated and 32 local families fed, amounting to 70kg of edible food.
Olio users were enthusiastic about the surplus donated by St Austell Brewery pubs. One person said:
“It's amazing to see St Austell Brewery get involved in its community, helping one another is the Cornish spirit.”
“[It] helps cut food costs in this difficult time.”
Food items such as tins of beans, smoked fish, scones, surplus carvery and soup are amongst the surplus being provided to people in the community.
Saasha Celestial-One, COO and co-founder of Olio, said:
“We’re delighted that St Austell Brewery and its pubs are joining Olio on our mission to fight food waste.
“As global temperatures continue to rise, and the UK’s cost of living crisis continues, it’s never been more important for businesses to commit to supporting their local communities by redistributing surplus food.
“We’re incredibly excited to welcome St Austell Brewery as Olio’s first major pub chain partner, and hope that many others will follow in its pioneering footsteps.”
Olio’s research shows that around 45% of people requesting food via the app are part of households living below the poverty line. Olio helps these individuals and their families in an anonymous and stigma-free way that encourages broader participation than charity-only models, which many people self-select out of.
The partnership will be rolled out in stages across the brewery’s 43 managed houses, with the first 20 pubs already involved in the scheme.
Once fully rolled out across the company’s managed pub estate, it’s expected that almost 15,000 portions of food will be donated in a year and provide food for 342 local families across the South West. The brewery has ambitions to extend the scheme to all 184 of its pubs, including its tenanted and leased sites.