OLIO: The App For Community Based Food Sharing

I am always being impressed by people and in particular women who come up with an idea to fulfil a need in the market. Sasha Celestial-One and Tessa Cook are two such women. They met in 2015 at business school and after realising that a third to a half of all food produced goes to waste, they came up with the idea of a community based food sharing app. OLIO was launched in July 2015 and now has 550,000 users sharing food in 41 countries.

Sasha Celestial-One & Tessa Cook - founders of OLIO app
Sasha Celestial-One and Tessa Cook

Their vision:

Is for millions of hyper local food sharing networks all around the world. Sasha and Tessa believe OLIO can help create a world in which nothing of value goes to waste, and every single person has enough to eat – without destroying our planet in the process.

How it works:

OLIO connects neighbours with each other and with local shops so surplus food and other items can be shared, not thrown away. The food must be edible; it can be raw or cooked, sealed or open.

“A third of the food we produce globally is thrown away, and in the UK households are responsible for over half of all food waste. The average family throws away £700 worth of food each year. That adds up to £12.5 billion… £12.5 billion that is going straight to landfill!”

OLIO appI signed up to the app and was amazed that in my area of Henley-on-Thames there were 84 OLIOers near me. As I write this post there are 5 frozen chicken legs, some green beans, Fevertree lemon tonic, Maca powder, a box of 240 Tetley tea bags and some Aptamil infant milk powder.

There is also a non-food section with bags of stationery, cat litter, Pampers baby wipes and a TV stand amongst many other household goods. People are advertising anything that they no longer need in order to save it from going to landfill.

1 in 3 people are “physically pained” throwing away good food – I know I am one of those. That’s a lot of people, who almost every day, are having to throw away food because there’s no alternative… there’s been no innovation since the rubbish bin! How crazy is that?!

I recently went through my store cupboard and embarrassingly threw away a bin bag of out of date goods. These could have been re-cycled if I had advertised them on OLIO before they expired.

How often do we buy a product for a recipe and use very little. We then stuff the rest in the fridge or store cupboard and forget about it until our next clear out. I personally buy lots of food for the weekends when my children come home. Sometimes I pack up all the spare food and give it to them on a Sunday evening to take back to London however if they can’t take it another way is to put it on OLIO on a Monday morning.

For businesses:

They also operate a food distribution for businesses. Whether you’re a supermarket, bakery, deli, restaurant, corporate canteen or market, OLIO’s Food Waste Heroes programme can provide volunteers to pick up and redistribute your unsold food at the end of the day.

If you love food, hate waste, care about the environment or want to connect with your community, OLIO is for you.

The app is available from App Store or Google Play. To find out more go to the OLIO website by clicking HERE.

For another planet saving household product click HERE.