APPS FOR KINDNESS
Share a meal, save the planet
Share more. Waste less.
Food, glorious food! That weekly shop might be an excuse to pick up every tasty looking treat, but all too often this impulse leads to excessive food waste.
Fortunately, two leading App Store developers have joined together to do their bit to tackle this growing problem.
Tired of throwing perfectly good food away, celebrity chef, deli owner and creator of the brilliant Deliciously Ella App, Ella Mills was searching for a solution to her delis’ food waste problem when she stumbled upon another app, Olio.
Olio is all about food sharing, helping individuals and businesses redistribute edible food that would otherwise get thrown out. It helps reduce the impact caused by food waste while simultaneously supporting those who need a meal.
“We really struggled with knowing what to do with any food waste we had, to begin with,” says Mills. “We wanted to give it away to homeless shelters and positive projects, but quickly realised that was nigh-on impossible because we couldn’t guarantee a certain amount.”
“There was only so much food our team could take home, so we started looking at other options and one of our team found Olio. It was a complete revolution for us as a company. It allowed us to put our food waste to good use rather than just into the bin.”
We really struggled with knowing what to do with any food waste we had.
Having signed up to the platform in April 2017, Olio became Deliciously Ella’s sole means of putting excess food to good use. Her deli donations only highlight the scale of the wider problem.
“In the first nine months our volunteers collected 4,442 items from Ella’s three delis, the equivalent of 2,115 full meals,” Olio co-founder, Tessa Cook, says.
Olio volunteers collect the day’s freshly produced excess, before listing it on the app and distributing it to anyone in need of a meal – whatever the cause of their need.
And that’s the true brilliance of Olio, it’s an app that doesn’t discriminate. Users can be those too busy to go shopping, dealing with one of life’s unexpected events, or simply those currently facing financial struggles.
“Roughly a third of our users are from households that are living in poverty and access to fresh, healthy, nutritious food can actually be very challenging,” Cook explains. “It can often be easier to eat things that are tinned or processed. For them, being able to access [fresh food] for free has been great.”
Although Deliciously Ella’s efforts have been gratefully received and widely distributed, Olio’s mission to eliminate food waste is far from over. Fortunately, there’s plenty we can all do to help.
“There is an almost infinite number of people who want to pick up delicious food. Our bigger challenge is encouraging everybody to think differently about the food in their own home,” Cook explains.
Roughly a third of our users are from households that are living in poverty.
Olio's Tessa Cook
”Take a slightly browned banana. Don’t throw it out, there’s someone on your street who’d love it to make banana bread or add to a curry. Look at the food in your fridge and cupboards for food that’s realistically not going to be used. Take it out, take a photo and share it with someone who’ll use it.”
“Half of all food waste happens in the home and that means that we’re half of the problem. But it also means we’re half of the solution, and we can use the phones in our pockets to genuinely change the world without having to wait for government or businesses. We can make this change ourselves.”