OLIO is a digital platform that lets users notify neighbours about extra food or ingredients, empowering communities to come together and prevent needless food waste. By reducing food waste from households, the scalable solution has a positive impact on the environment and social wellbeing, both on an individual and community level.
OLIO started when the founders were faced with having to throw away food despite hating to do so. The solution is built on research, testing and pilot programs, with food safety as a key focus area. Collaboration with consumers, businesses, communities and municipalities has also been crucial to ensure mobilisation around the issue.
In the developed world, about half of all food waste happens at home. A lack of local community may mean residents do not know anyone to give excess food to. With more mouths to feed each year, the pressure on our food system will only continue to grow, meaning we need to transition to a more circular food economy.
OLIO is the world’s first neighbour-to-neighbour food sharing app. Apart from the peer-to-peer sharing component, OLIO also lets trained volunteers (known as “Food Waste Heroes”) collect unsold food from local businesses to be distributed to other OLIO users for free.
For the individual users, OLIO gives a fun and easy way to decrease food waste and make a difference, whilst enjoying an empowering community experience. For the businesses, OLIO offers a cost-effective solution that enables them to achieve zero food waste locations.
OLIO’s users and ambassadors advocate circular economy and awareness of the impacts of consumption. The platform’s ideals match growing consumer interests such as sharing, community resilience and localism. The new partnerships created by OLIO help foster new hyperlocal circular food networks.
So far 6.5 million portions of food have been shared worldwide via OLIO, which has reduced food waste sent to landfills. This is equivalent to taking over 30 million car kilometres off the road and saving over 1 billion litres of water in agricultural production. By optimising the use of resources in agriculture, the solution also contributes towards reducing the need for land occupied by agricultural activities.
The solution’s key social impact is significantly improved consumer health and wellbeing, as OLIO can help reduce hunger in local communities. It also contributes towards improved community wellbeing by increasing social cohesion. The food that is distributed through OLIO is also inherently sustainable, as it would otherwise be wasted, which means it also improves access to sustainable consumption.