OLIO: The world's first food sharing app

Waste not, want not. OLIO is the world's first and currently the only neighbour-to-neighbour food sharing app to help ensure no food goes to waste.

Tessa Clarke, Co-founder of OLIO grew up on her parents’ dairy farm in North Yorkshire, England. She learnt pretty much as soon as she could walk just how much hard work goes into producing the food that we all eat. Clarke grew up with the firm belief that food is meant to be eaten, not thrown away. “The ‘lightbulb’ moment came on 17th December 2014 - I remember it well.” Clarke commented.

“I was packing up our apartment in Switzerland, getting ready to move back to the UK. Despite our best efforts to eat everything we had, we were still left with six sweet potatoes, a whole white cabbage and some pots of yogurt. The removal men told me that all the food had to be thrown away, but I just couldn’t bring myself to do this.

“Unfortunately, the lady who I had hoped to give it to wasn’t in her usual spot outside the supermarket and I got quite upset. I thought about knocking on my neighbours’ doors to see if they wanted it, but the problem was I didn’t know if they would be in; and even if they were, I didn’t really know them and it might be a bit awkward if they didn’t want what I was offering. Feeling thoroughly defeated, I thought to myself - ‘This is absolutely crazy…. this food is delicious. Why isn’t there an app where I can share it with someone nearby who wants it?’ And so the idea for OLIO was born.”

Clarke told some friends and family about her idea of a food sharing app, but she felt like everyone just thought she was crazy. However, in February 2015, she met up with her friend and now Co-founder, Saasha Celestial-One, who shares the same passion for salvaging waste, and her eyes immediately lit up. Clarke and Celestial-One just knew that they had to work together to bring the app to life.

The duo formed the company on 9th February 2015 and decided they had a year to prove it could work and make it happen, and if not they would have to go back and get proper jobs.

What is OLIO and how does it work?

OLIO is an app that connects people who have food they don’t want or need, with neighbours living nearby who would like it. This could be when you’re going on holiday, going on a diet, have over-catered for a party, or just not got round to eating what you have in your fridge and cupboards. OLIO can also be used for non-food household items too.

To make an item available, simply open the app, add a photo, description, and when and where the item is available for pick-up. To access items, simply browse the listings available near you, request whatever takes your fancy and arrange a pick-up via private messaging. Half of all listings added to the app are requested in less than 1 hour.

OLIO is available on the IOS and Android app store and can be used anywhere in the world for free. Food has also been successfully shared in over 49 countries so far. The app navigation is in English and also Spanish, however, listings and messaging can all be done in local languages. The company has plans to translate the web app into different languages in the future.

OLIO is the world’s first and currently the only neighbour-to-neighbour food sharing app. Sadly the average family in the UK throws away 22% of their weekly shop, which is worth £800 per year. As such, Clarke explained that the company’s only real competitor is the household rubbish bin and therefore aims to make its app just as convenient, as well as making it an enjoyable experience by giving its users the great feeling of rehoming their food and connecting with neighbours in their local communities. 

Although OLIO has only been around a few years, the company has already accomplished a lot. It is helping to create a world in which nothing of value goes to waste, and where every person has enough to eat - without destroying our planet in the process.

So far…

Just over two million users have joined the food sharing revolution, almost two million portions of food have been shared, and this is the environmental equivalent of taking approximately 5 million car miles off the road.

Startup Details

Startup Details



OLIO is a free app connecting neighbours so surplus food and other items can be shared, not binned. Its location-based app and website allows people to list and post a photo of unwanted food items to be shared with other people in the same neighbourhood.

  • Headquarters Regions
    London, UK
  • Founded Date
  • Founders
    Tessa Clarke, Saasha Celestial-One,
  • Operating Status
  • Number of Employees