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I used the food waste app to get free food

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  • I use Olio to get free food and find new owners for items I no longer need.
  • It’s a food waste app, but users also provide clothing, books, and household items.
  • Olio has about 6.3 million users, the co-founder told Insider.

I’ve been using the food waste app for months to get free food and find a home for items I no longer need.

Olio, a British app that connects users to free meals, ingredients, clothing and household items, is rapidly growing in popularity.

You can use Olio to donate products you no longer need, such as leftover food, unwanted clothing, or books you’ve read.

Since I started using the app in May, I’ve collected foods like croissants, sandwiches, and long-life pantries. I used his Olio to find new homes for the books I read, the clothes I hated, and the sweet rice I realized I never cooked.

A screenshot of the Olio app listing.

Olio app screenshot

Using Olio saved me money, but the main thing for me is to avoid throwing food away while it can still be eaten.

Many people use the app to gift items when they move, but they use the app to gift food before they go on a trip because they bought something they didn’t like or they simply didn’t like it. Some people do. have a clear out.

But Olio also has another side. Businesses such as retailers and coffee shops can pay to use his Olio as a waste disposal service. Volunteers, dubbed “food waste heroes,” collect products from stores nearing their expiration date. Olio says he has 63,000 food waste heroes, mostly in the UK.

All users must write a description, submit a photo, and tell when and where the product can be collected.

For food products, users often also list the expiration date. Sometimes the description is complete, sometimes vague. At one point, I used an app to collect things that were simply labeled as “croissants.” A user gave me the address and 47 pastries were waiting for him at his doorstep.

Other foods I collect include Amazon Fresh and Pret a Manger items, teas, biscuits, and canned soups from vacant homes and people moving out.

Orio salad pre

Salad of pret-managers collected from Orio.

Grace Dean/Insider

Everything in Olio is free. Users are not entitled to any monetary or other compensation in exchange for the goods.

The important thing to remember is that companies’ listings are usually nearing the expiration date of their food. Prepackaged products are dated, but for some products, such as croissants, it is necessary to determine if it is safe to leave them out for several days.

Set your approximate location in the app and Olio will show you items you can collect nearby. You can choose how far you want to travel and filter to see the latest list. Dozens of new items are added to Olio every day within my 3 mile radius.

My profile on the Olio app

My profile on the Olio app.

Olio app screenshot

Collecting and sharing items can be a little intimidating at first. Your profile includes your name and you don’t have to add a picture of yourself, but I think it gives you a little more credibility when collecting items.

When you upload an item, you set your own pick-up location. In many cases, users allow collection from their home, but you can also set the collection location as a public location.

After giving the item, both parties are invited to rate each other. According to Olio, users who don’t participate in collections can be kicked out of the app and can easily report other users for inappropriate behavior.

This app is different from Too Good To Go, which also tackles food waste. We only have company listings from the companies themselves, and users collect them from the facilities in question. You have to pay for these items as well, and they’re mostly done on a “magic bag” basis where you don’t know what you’ll get until you collect it.

Tessa Clark, one of the company’s co-founders, told Insider that she had an “epiphany moment” when she moved in 2014 and tried to feed her leftover food. The Olio app was launched in his July 2015.

According to Clarke, it now has 6.3 million registered users, up from 2.3 million in September 2020 and 4.7 million a year later. Half of the food listed on the app is requested in about 20 minutes, she adds.

Information about my influence on the Olio app

Information about my influence on the Olio app.

Olio app screenshot

According to Clark, there are many Olio users not only in the UK, but also in Singapore, Ireland and Mexico. We are also active in the United States.

Clark said companies are partnering with Olio to go zero waste. These companies don’t have time to list their products or turn to Olio after first trying to give to charity, she said.

Volunteering can be a long-term effort, with some helpers providing one-off assistance and others collecting items multiple times a week. Clark says volunteers are popular among students because they can retain and redistribute up to 10 percent of the food they collect.

The app raised €43 million ($43 million) in a funding round last September.