We’ve recently teamed up with OLIO, a startup looking to reduce food waste by connecting people to exchange surplus food.

OLIO was founded by Tessa Cook and Saasha Celestial-One who met during their time studying business at Stanford University in California. Since leaving university, Tessa has worked as MD of E-Commerce at Dyson while Saasha worked as VP of Business Development at American Express and founded a flexible daycare business in North London, My Creche.

The idea for OLIO came about when Tessa recently moved back to England from Geneva. Packed and ready to go, she found she had a small amount of excess food (some cabbage, sweet potatoes and a little yoghurt) that she couldn’t bring herself to throw away. Saasha, also passionate about reducing waste, has kitted out her current workplace entirely through FreeCycle and is always on the lookout for an appliance she can rescue from being sent to a landfill.

While the sharing economy is booming, with apps available to help you swap pretty much everything, Saasha and Tessa were surprised to find that there was no-one encouraging people to share excess food – and OLIO was born.

To validate the idea, Saasha and Tessa put together a Survey Monkey survey to see how people felt about food waste and if they’d be interested in making a change. With 328 responses, overwhelmingly positive, the pair put up an OLIO landing page and started collecting leads.

To get a better idea of how OLIO interactions would work, Saasha and Tessa have set up a very basic OLIO MVP, in the form of a WhatsApp group between 12 early adopters and 1 retailer. These users insights will inform how the first iteration of the app will work.

“For far too long there has been no easy way for consumers and local businesses to address the fact that a mind boggling £12 billion of perfectly edible food is thrown away by local communities each year” says Tessa Cook, Co Founder of OLIO. ‘We’re absolutely delighted that Simpleweb are joining us on our journey to build an incredible product that’s going to change this!”

Simpleweb will be working with OLIO on the application over the next couple of months. We’ll keep you up to date here, but if you’re interested in being part of the food sharing revolution, join the OLIO list now!

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