GWR partners with Olio to help combat food waste


Great Western Railway (GWR) has launched an exciting new scheme to help tackle food waste in the rail industry, while supporting families in need. 

Teaming up with food sharing organisation Olio, GWR is working to redistribute in-date food leftover from its on-board catering service to local communities and charities across the Great Western Network. 

GWR Business Assurance Director Joe Graham said:

“Through working with Olio, GWR can be sure any extra food from our services goes straight to people in need. 

“This scheme allows us to continue to support our local charities and communities, while maintaining our commitment to being a sustainable business by sending zero waste direct to landfill.” 

Launched in 2015 by friends Tessa Clarke and Saasha Celestial-One, Olio’s free app allows people to connect with neighbours and local businesses so that surplus food can be shared, not thrown away. Olio now has more than 2.8 million users with 13 million portions of food shared since the app was launched. 

Olio’s work to redistribute surplus, in-date food provides a critical gap in the food waste hierarchy, intercepting it before it is thrown away, providing a valuable service for people who want to reduce wastage as well as their environmental footprint. 

With passenger numbers dropping in the last year due to the Covid-19 pandemic, GWR found itself with a surplus of the food provided as part of its on-board catering services.

To ensure none of this food went to waste, it decided to partner with OIio at the end of 2020, with a trial taking place in Paddington and Plymouth, using trains to transport surplus stock from across the network to both locations. Now the scheme is being rolled out across the entire Great Western network, allowing more families to benefit. 

Olio Business Development Manager Georgie Cella said: 

“We've been delighted to partner with GWR to ensure food from their onboard catering service hasn't gone to waste. To date, we've managed to rescue the equivalent of over 800 meals across the 2 sites, which has helped reduce co2 emissions, as well as bringing benefit to local families.

“It's been a critical time to work with GWR during lockdown and we look forward to providing a long-term solution for their onboard catering surplus” 

Olio’s app is available through Google Play and the Apple Store, along with its website providing more information on how to get involved in the fight against food waste. 

GWR is operating a reduced timetable during the latest national lockdown and customers should follow Government guidelines, only travelling for work if essential or for other legally permitted reasons. Find out more at

The train operator has been providing rail services throughout the pandemic and has worked to ensure these are as safe as possible. This includes increased cleaning regimes and the use of a virucidal spray; extra staff at key stations to offer help and guidance; and processes in place to help customers maintain a safe distance where possible, such as restricting the number of reservations available.