Women Leading a Food Sharing Revolution! | United Kingdom, Sweden, USA

Women are leading a food revolution with OLIO, the world's only neighbour-to-neighbour food sharing app. OLIO is co-founded and led by women and two-thirds of the app’s users are women.

App users tackle the problem of food waste by connecting with their neighbours, local shops, and cafes, to share leftover food in their community. Approximately half of the food on the app comes from neighbours sharing their spare food, and half comes from ‘Food Waste Heroes’ - volunteers who collect unsold food from local shops, take it home, add it to the app, and redistribute it to the community.

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Key facts

  • 400,000 users have together shared over half a million portions of food - the environmental equivalent of taking more than 1.2 million car miles off the road;
  • 35,000 people have actively shared food on OLIO so far;
  • 18,000 volunteers are spreading the word about OLIO in their local communities and 1,000 volunteers are collecting and redistributing unsold food from local shops;
  • OLIO’s aim is to grow from its 400,000 signed-up users today to 400 million by 2025. 

The problem

Food waste is the third largest source of greenhouse gas emissions and one of the largest environmental problems of our times. Globally, one third of the food we produce gets thrown away and the environmental impact is enormous: a land mass larger than China is used every year to grow food that is never eaten; and when food is sent to the landfill it creates toxic methane emissions. 

In the developed world, half of all food waste takes place in the home, with the average United Kingdom family throwing away GBP 700 of good food per year, collectively adding up to GBP 13 billion. In comparison, retail stores account for less than 5% of food waste.

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Credit: Annabel Staff

The solution

OLIO is dramatically reducing food waste in the homes and local communities all around the world by empowering people to share their unwanted food rather than throw it away. The app is free to use, and accessible to anybody with an internet connection.

Users with unwanted food simply take a photo and add it to the app; neighbours who live nearby receive an alert, can browse through the listings, request what they want, and stop by to pick it up. 
40% of all food listed on the app is requested in less than one hour, and 75% is requested in 24 hours.

Helping the planet

When food is eaten and not thrown away, the environmental impact of the production and distribution of that food is not wasted, and ultimately, less food needs to be produced overall. 
OLIO has enabled the redistribution of over half a million portions of food and has saved 409 tonnes of CO2 from entering the atmosphere. 

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OLIO volunteer

Helping people

One third of users who regularly request food via OLIO are from households that are living in poverty. The app is completely free to use for anyone with an internet connection and OLIO requires no forms, no quotas, and no stigma. 

OLIO is empowering everyday citizens, most of whom are women, to help solve one of the biggest environmental problems of our time, in a way that is fun, easy, convenient - and most importantly - scalable.

Spillover effect

OLIO is a single digital product that has been designed and built to grow. It currently enables successful food sharing in 32 countries.

As OLIO continues to grow, they will recruit local teams in new geographies, and partner with organizations and governments to enable them to tackle food waste worldwide.

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