OLIO is a mobile app that comprises of neighbours sharing free food with each other that would otherwise go to waste. Companies or people that have surplus food can use the app in order to give food to those that are in need or to anyone that wants an extra bite to eat. This is another one of my favourite apps as I have received free sandwiches and other meals from this app. The overall concept of OLIO is amazing and the fact that this is the first of its kind is startling. OLIO has reduced the amount of surplus food that is destined for the bin and has been given to those in food poverty.
This app consists of companies or any member of the public adding any surplus food to their profile. This can then be viewed by anyone and reserved. Also, OLIO have mentioned on their website that is illegal to post food that has gone past its use by date but is fine if the best before date has gone past. The recipient can then message to arrange a pick up time to get their food. In addition, this app has recently made available non-food items to be picked up to reduce any overall waste. Their idea to reduce the food waste has been amazing with their impact being shared on their website. Nearly 5 million users have installed this app and with this, over 32 million portions of food has escaped the bin! This can be compared to the Independents article stating that approximately 190 million meals are thrown away which is just from the supermarkets. Therefore, any additional reduction in waste is a slow step towards a better future. In addition, this app is a great way for those that either live in food poverty or from a lower income background to access food as it is free and there are many ways to contact those who save food if specific food is needed.
In 2014, Tessa Clarke came up with the idea of the app as she had leftover food that was in perfect condition but needed to be thrown out. It was difficult for Tessa to ask her neighbours as they may not want the food so her idea to create the app spawned from this situation. They trialled this idea on a WhatsApp group chat and it was successful with their neighbours pushing them to make the app. Their first investor was Simpleweb which is a company that invests in supporting startups and creates mobile applications. There is hardly any information about this company but they invested in an ethical comparison product business known as Giki which to some extent highlights their eco-conscious mindset.
In the OLIO website, it mentions that the founders are aiming for a net zero app and this has been supported by changes that they have made. This consists of publishing their sustainability reports onto their website and on their board, making alterations to their website to reduce emissions by 2022 and switching to a green mobile data provider from 2021. However, I tried to find some data or articles to support their switching to a green data provider as it is nearing the end of the year and could not find anything. Therefore, they need to be more transparent with their users and only make promises if they will keep them. In addition, after extensive research I could not find any sustainability reports on Simpleweb or OLIO itself on their website which contradicts OLIOs commitment to publishing their reports
The founders of OLIO are Tessa Clarke and Saasha Celestial-One. Tessa herself has always appreciated food and learnt to reduce food waste as she has grew up on a dairy farm. Working on a dairy farm was tiring and required a lot of hard work but was rewarded by milk and other sources of nutrition from her daily labour. Therefore, this was essential for her to fight against food waste. However, Saasha’s story was different as she grew up in a poorer family so had to find items from other people’s bins in order to resell and make money. Therefore, this helped her gain an idea of creating a business one day. Their company is composed of 43 employees with only 23% female workforce. Therefore, they should be doing more to create an equal ratio of male to female employees in their business. However, OLIO does offer certain incentives such as flexible working (which is sometimes remote anyway even before COVID), 20 day holidays, maternity/paternity leave, stock options and team retreats to reward their employees. This is supported by several Glassdoor reviews that have given the company 5 out of 5 stars and all positive reviews as well.