OLIO is a free app that connects neighbours with each other and with local independent shops so surplus food can be shared, not thrown away.
This could include food nearing its use-by date from shops, cafes and markets; spare vegetables from the allotment; cakes from an amateur baker; or groceries from household fridges when people go away or move home.
To access the app, users simply snap a picture of their items and add them to OLIO. Neighbours then receive customised alerts and can request anything that takes their fancy, and arrange pick-up from home, the store, an OLIO Drop Box, or another agreed location.
The inspiration for the app came from the early experiences of co-founders Tessa Cook and Saasha Celestial-One, entrepreneurs raised in rural families witnessing the scandal of food waste close up.
Cook grew up on a farm, effectively seeing a third of her family’s hard work go to waste, while Celestial-One is the daughter of Iowa hippies and equally passionate about the issue.
Labour MP for York Central and newly appointed Shadow DEFRA Secretary, Rachael Maskell, believes the new service will be a great addition to the city.
She said: “Food is too precious a resource to end up in the bin, that's why I'm delighted to welcome the launch of OLIO as an easy way for people to connect and share their surplus food.
"Not only is it good news for local families who want to cut their bills but OLIO also boosts local shops and markets who can now cut the amount of food they throw away at the push of a button.”
Since launching in December 2015, OLIO has been used over 275,000 times and has been featured twice by Apple as ‘Best new app’ in the App Store.
OLIO was also the first retail technology start-up Sainsbury’s partnered with on their ‘Waste Less, Save More’ initiative.
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