Facilitating food sharing from surpluses through a digital app
A project whereby no food surplus is wasted anymore at home. Instead of throwing food away, why not save it by sharing it with neighbours and others locally? The OLIO free mobile phone app matches unwanted edible food from neighbours and local shops with individuals. So surplus food can be shared for free and does not go into the bin. Users simply snap a picture of their items and add them to OLIO app. Neighbours then receive customised alerts and can request anything that takes their fancy. Pick-up takes place - often the same day – at the home, in store, at an OLIO drop box, or another agreed location.
All the food on OLIO is either available for free, or for a «pay as you feel» donation to charity. OLIO can provide food that some charities wouldn’t bother with – lots of listings on the site are for a couple of potatoes or half a sandwich. OLIO is empowering individual citizens to make a difference and solve the problem of food waste - over half of all food wasted in the UK is from the home which means that consumers are half the
OLIO is backed by one of the world’s largest venture capital firms, and a number of investors passionate about solving the problem of food waste in the home & local community.

Resources needed

Capital, digital skills, innovation

Evidence of success

Over 500,000 users
Over 400,000 Items of food have been shared
Over 170,000 meals saved from going to waste
Operates in 37 countries
4,150,110 portions of food shared & 1,957963 users

Potential for learning or transfer

With the OLIO app everyone can pick up unwanted food from people local to them, and donate surplus food they don’t want that otherwise would been thrown away. There’s a potential for learning this innovative and popular project based on local sharing rather than on selling food surpluses.
Olio benefits also the local authorities by reducing the volume household food waste to be treated so this is a service that they should be interested in promoting and encouraging.
Devon County Council planned to support the roll out of Olio in the Exeter area as part of his action plan. Other councils have already partnered with Olio to reduce household food waste in their regions such as Buckinghamshire council.
Emma Croft
Devon County Council
[email protected]
Main institution
Devon, United Kingdom
Start Date
January 2015
End Date


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