OLIO is a free app that aims to tackle the global issue of food waste. Founded in 2015 by two friends, Tessa Cook and Saasha Celestial-One, the brand’s mission is to unlock the value of food that is wasted in the home and local community. In this instance, value is not only judged economically, but also socially, environmentally and morally. The app allows neighbours to connect with one another and with local shops and cafes. Through the OLIO platform, surplus food can be photographed and shared. All food is either available for free, or for a ‘pay as you feel’ donation to charity. OLIO also has a non-food section for other household items such as toiletries, kitchen equipment, books, toys & clothes.
The inspiration for OLIO originated 3 years ago when Tessa was moving country and found she had some good food left over that she couldn’t bare to throw away. With a childhood spent being raised on a farm, Tessa knew the hard work that went into producing the food we eat, so she set off on a wild goose chase trying to give her food away. Whilst she failed in her food giveaway endeavours that December day, this experience, paired with her upbringing, lead to the lightbulb moment in which OLIO was born. In February 2015, Tessa mentioned this idea to Saasha, who immediately got it, and the pair decided to bring OLIO to life.
OLIO’s vision is for millions of hyper local food sharing networks all around the world. The brand uses social media as a platform to raise awareness around the issue of food waste, and waste more generally. They run various volunteering programmes that are integral to OLIO’s success, with currently over 16,000 volunteers and counting! The apps latest stats are 350,000 users who have together shared over 450,000 portions of food, which is the environmental equivalent of taking over 1.1 million car miles off the road. 80% of OLIO’s activity is in the UK, but the app is also being used globally, with successful shares having taken place in 32 countries.