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Share with your neighbours while helping the planet

OLIO, the leading food sharing app now has over 6.1 million users all over the world sharing over 57 million portions of food. That’s the equivalent of eliminating 170,078,646 car miles from the road.

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Starting out as a hyper-local experiment in north London, OLIO was founded in 2016 by Tessa Clarke and Saasha Celestial-One and has now flourished into a global sharing movement.


Once upon a time, it would have been seen as perfectly normal to share with your neighbours. But somewhere along the way we all got a little more jaded and a lot less neighbourly. Sharing is caring is a nice concept, but in a more digital and detached age it can seem like a quaint mythology. Enter OLIO. Hailed by the Telegraph as the “Tinder for your tins” and boasting over six million users, OLIO is on a mission to reduce food waste by sharing the love. By connecting neighbours with one another and with local businesses through their app, OLIO is ensuring surplus food can be passed along rather than thrown away.


But OLIO isn’t just focused on befriending your neighbourhood for fun. Food waste is one of the biggest problems facing humankind today. Between 33-50% of all food produced globally never gets eaten, the monetary value of which is approximately $1.3trillion. Food waste is a huge market inefficiency. Yet at the same time as we face this staggering amount of thrown away food, 800 million people go hungry.


OLIO states that every single person who is starving or malnourished could be sufficiently fed on less than a quarter of the food that is wasted in the USA, UK and Europe every year. If this wasn’t bad enough, food waste is also catastrophic for the planet. From the resources wasted in the process of producing food at scale (deforestation, soil degradation and immense fresh water consumption, to name a few) to what happens when food waste decomposes in landfill, the picture for the planet is a bleak one. But that doesn’t mean we are helpless to fix it.


As with many environmentally-concerned issues, it’s all too easy to feel useless on an individual level when faced with such statistics. But in this instance, individuals play a huge role. In the Western world, it’s estimated 50% of food waste actually takes place in homes – meaning we are quite literally half the problem. But OLIO chooses to see this as glass half full; being half of the problem means we can be half of the solution. With a strong focus on diversity and inclusion, OLIO self describes as “a mindset, not a demographic” – essentially a key reminder of the power of collaboration.

Interview with Tessa Clarke, CEO & Co-Founder

“OLIO looks like it’s simply an app. But actually, its beating heart is the community.  It’s that doorstep interaction.”

Tessa Clarke, CEO & Co-founder

Having started out as “just” a food-sharing app, OLIO has come a long way and is constantly evolving to become something more. Co-founder and CEO Tessa Clarke describes the facets to the problem OLIO is solving as “three concentric rings”, with food waste at the centre, followed by tackling waste more broadly, and lastly the systemic problem of consumption and over-consumption.


OLIO’s long-term vision is to actively reinvent how we consume, moving away from the current default consumption model of buying products brand new, from afar, and using them for 5-10% of their life before tossing them into landfill. What OLIO hopes to move to instead is a new model which focuses on making consumption hyper local and, vitally, sustainable. Imagine a world in which the first place you go to consume is your very own doorstep. This could come about by borrowing from neighbours, or taking what they no longer have use for free of charge.

While we all know that the world can currently feel quite a depressing place, OLIO as a brand is keen to remove itself from the never-ending messages of existential dread that we are often surrounded by.  Their focus instead is on the solution over the problem, and this extends beyond simply the reward of being part of a solution.


OLIO users regularly report that, aside from feeling good to be doing good, the overall experience generally leaves them feeling great in themselves. The secret ingredient of OLIO’s success lies in the intersection of technology and community, and the magic that can happen when both are combined and put to great use.

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Article Details

  Feature with:           OLIO

Tessa Clarke, CEO & Co-Founder

Written by Sophie Omer-McWalter on the Hyer Team

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