OLIO is an online app designed to reduce food waste through social networking. After creating an account, OLIO users can upload photos and descriptions of foods, such as extra vegetables, surplus canned goods, or leftover meals, that they wish to share. Since launching in the United Kingdom in early 2016, OLIO has gained 322,000 users, with more than 400,000 food transactions made on the app. A third of OLIO’s regular users are from low-income households.
“[The food system] is clearly absolutely bonkers and needs to be fixed,” said OLIO co-founder Tessa Cook, who was inspired to create the app to deal with what she describes as “one of the biggest problems facing humanity today,” according to the Independent. One-third of all food produced globally is wasted, while in the United Kingdom, the average family discards £700 worth of food each year. Cook was inspired by one incident in which she sought to share leftovers on the street, but could not find someone. “I thought, this is perfectly delicious food. I know there is someone within 100 meters who would love it. The problem is they don’t know about it,” she said.
When Cook realized there was no food-sharing app, she and Saasha Celestial-One, an American former investment banker, co-founded OLIO after raising £1.65 million (~$2.2 million) in investor funding. OLIO is now collaborating with cafes and supermarkets to reduce food waste, while positively impacting business and consumer behavior. Sharing apps like OLIO have highlighted the positive possibilities of a networked society. “These have made visible the kind of opportunity within all this stuff around us, and they can be really powerful,” said Joe Iles, editor-in-chief of Circulate, a magazine which promotes the idea of a circular economy, in which materials and products are reused.
Via the Independent