Waste_Final-copyNEWCASTLE, 7th July 2016: Following successful roll-outs across a variety of UK cities in recent months, food sharing app OLIO heads to Newcastle to launch in its first northern England city. Smartphone users throughout Newcastle now have access to the app providing local people and businesses with a simple way to reduce the food they waste. 

OLIO is a free app that connects neighbours with each other and with local independent shops so surplus food can be shared, not thrown away. This could include food nearing its use-by date from shops, cafes and markets; spare vegetables from the allotment; cakes from an amateur baker; or groceries from household fridges when people go away or move home. 

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. 

OLIO launches in Newcastle in a community already committed to reducing food waste with local bodies creating a healthier food culture in the city, such as Food Newcastle. The social, economic and environmental case for action is compelling. Globally, a third of all food produced is wasted (FAO), and in the UK, households – which are responsible for half of all food waste – collectively bin over £12.5bn of edible food per year, at a cost of £700 to the average family (WRAP). 

The inspiration for the app came from the early experiences of co-founders Tessa Cook and Saasha Celestial-One, entrepreneurs raised in rural families witnessing the scandal of food waste close up. Cook grew up on a farm, effectively seeing a third of her family’s hard work go to waste, while Celestial-One is the daughter of Iowa hippies and equally passionate about the issue. Since launching in December 2015, OLIO has been used over 250,000 times and featured twice by Apple as ‘Best new app’ in the App Store. OLIO was also the first retail technology start-up Sainsbury’s partnered with on their ‘Waste Less, Save More’ initiative.

Rob Noyes, Environment and Ethics Officer from the Newcastle University Students’ Union says the new service will complement a number of sustainability projects already happening in Newcastle. “When so many go hungry both globally and locally – continuing to waste food on the scale we do is unacceptable. But it is easily done. Now, it can be easily prevented. By clicking a button we can revolutionise the way we think about food. It’s exciting to see how much interest there is in Newcastle for OLIO!” 

“I’ve used OLIO to both give away surplus food and collect it from others. In all cases the people I’ve encountered have been friendly and are in it for the community aspect of it, not just to get rid of stuff they don’t need. I think OLIO is a great way to connect people who would otherwise not have been able to help each other”, added Daniel Romani, The Magic Hat Cafe. 

The issue of food waste is also costly for local stores and governments, and ranks as one of the world’s largest emitters of greenhouse gases. OLIO seeks to address these problems by combining cutting-edge mobile technology with the power of the sharing economy and an engaged local community. 

To mark the launch, OLIO is hosting a Pot Luck Picnic on Saturday 9th July from 2-4pm at Leazes Park, Richardson Rd, Newcastle upon Tyne. OLIO will also have a presence at Eco Fest on 10thJuly. The OLIO team can’t wait to bring the service to a city with the need for food waste reduction already recognised. “Newcastle has been one of our most active cities in terms of food sharing happening organically. The city has a brilliant community of people who are passionate about reducing food waste and the contribution that can be made at a local level,” explained Saasha Celestial-One, co-founder of OLIO.

To attend the Pot Luck Picnic please register on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/events/1042711292470098/.