OpenIDEO is an open innovation platform. Join our global community to solve big challenges for social good. Sign Up / Login or Learn more

OLIO - The Food Sharing Revolution

A free app that connects neighbours with each other and with local shops & cafes so that surplus food can be shared, not thrown away.

Photo of Tessa Cook null
18 34

Written by

Why throw away good food when there's almost certainly someone round the corner, who would love to take it off your hands? For too long we haven't been able to connect those with surplus food, with others who would like it. OLIO solves this modern-day tragedy with a fun and easy to use app. 

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. Not only does it feeling amazing to stop good food from going to waste, it's also surprisingly fun to meet your neighbours in the process!

Items commonly found on the app include food nearing its use-by date from shops, cafes and markets; spare vegetables from the garden; cakes from an amateur baker; food no longer wanted by dieters, or groceries from household fridges when people go away, move home or just don't get around to eating everything they have.

OLIO launched in the UK in January 2016 and in this short time has been used over 275,000 times to save over 100,000  items of food!

What is a provocation or insight that might inspire others during this challenge?

Humans have shared food for over 2 million years. But in recent times we've become numb to throwing it away, with households accounting for 50% of food waste in the industrialised world. The solution to too much good food should be to SHARE it, not bin it! Together, enabled by mobile technology, we can each play our part in solving this massive problem. Lots of small actions --> massive change!

Tell us about your work experience:

I'm the Co-Founder of OLIO, and a bit of a 'mum on a mission' to help solve the tragedy of food waste - in a way that's mobile, global, scalable and FUN!


Join the conversation:

Photo of Tessa Cook null

Please do drop us a line on Thanks!

View all comments