Brewery partners with food waste app

Andres Figar from Olio and Elle Sambrook, St Austell Brewery’s head of sustainability

St Austell Brewery is trailblazing a partnership with a food waste app giving away surplus food from its south west pubs. 

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, 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. 

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.