Olio food waste hero volunteerOLIO is a food sharing app where neighbours can connect with each other and with local shops and cafes so surplus food and non food items can be shared and not thrown away.

The other day we caught up with OLIO Co-Founder Tessa Cook to learn more about their new “Food Waste Heroes” programme – a freshly squeezed initiative (currently in its pilot stage) that aims to put OLIO’s volunteers into action by taking surplus food from busy businesses and listing it on the OLIO app.

So why Food Waste Heroes? The main reason behind OLIO’s Food Waste Hero programme was demand from businesses. As Tessa told us, many businesses are “too busy to use the app themselves or have a high staff turnover.” Most businesses simply want “someone to take the food away and make sure it’s being eaten, rather than thrown away in a black bag.”

With almost 4,000 volunteers, OLIO saw the potential. Tessa told us the team came up with the idea of using these “volunteers and matching them up with their local bakery, cafe, deli or whole food store.” As Tessa says, “Food Waste Heroes provide a fantastic service to local businesses whereby they pop in with whatever frequency the business wants, and pick up their surplus food to list it on the OLIO app.”

In keeping with OLIO’s sharing philosophy, all Food Waste Heroes are allowed to keep 10% of the food for themselves. Unsurprisingly, the programme has created an eclectic mix of heroes as Tessa told us some are “accountants by day and super food waste heroes by night.” The programme has great appeal as it is “direct food waste activism, which feels great, plus they [the volunteers] get to meet lots of people in their community, so it’s a very fun and social thing to do” Tessa says.

In the meantime, the focus for OLIO now is to recruit businesses to benefit from this service. Despite the programme being in its infancy, there are currently thirteen active locations and 41 food waste heroes, and counting!

If you know any businesses in your local community that could benefit, or if you want to become a super Food Waste Hero simply visit OLIO or send an email to hello@olioex.com to find out more.

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