Food waste heroes in Pembrokeshire have helped to prevent nearly 2,000 meals from going to waste in the past year, thanks to a partnership between Tesco and OLIO.

That forms part of almost 180,000 meals shared by volunteers across Wales, while more than five million have been shared across the UK in the past year, supporting more than 72,000 people, families and community groups.

In August last year Tesco became the first supermarket to partner with the food-sharing app, which provides unsold surplus food to people in the community and prevents it from being thrown away.

OLIO food waste heroes collect food when charities supported by FareShare are unable to do so and take it back to their homes.

The items are then immediately uploaded onto the OLIO app, ready to be re-distributed free to those living nearby. OLIO app users can then pick items up, from an agreed, contact-free collection point.

The partnership builds on Tesco’s existing food surplus donations programme, including its Community Food Connection scheme with FareShare.

That scheme, which started in 2016, has provided more than 120 million meals of food to charities and community groups across the UK.

Tesco has led the way in tackling food waste for many years. It has not sent any food waste to landfill since 2009, and in 2013 became the first UK retailer to publish its food waste data.

Tesco head of communities, Claire De Silva, said: “Tesco is committed to tackling food waste and we were confident our partnership with OLIO would help with that, but its impact has exceeded all our expectations.

“For our partnership to have diverted more than five million surplus meals from going to waste shows the strength of the partnership between our store colleagues and OLIO’s food waste heroes.”

Saasha Celestial-One, co-founder of OLIO, said: “Our partnership with Tesco has been a huge success this year, and we’re incredibly proud to have delivered so many meals that would have otherwise been wasted to communities across the UK. Tesco has been a true pioneer.

“But our work is far from done. We hope this partnership encourages other businesses to follow suit and consider how they can take a more proactive approach to minimising waste and supporting local communities. Just imagine what we could achieve if every business followed their lead.”