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Food Sharing Apps Like Olio
On-Demand Apps

Turn Food Waste To Food Share: Make An App Like Olio

Sanjay Kidecha,

You must have encountered hundreds of marketplace apps like Facebook that allows you to share information, Food delivery apps that allows you to order food from nearby, Let go that enables you to buy & sell pre-loved stuff, and so on. All those marketplaces have millions of customers and inspired entrepreneurs to build similar communities. But if you want to solve a severe problem, you need to check this.

One very peculiar UK startup is rising, boasting $43 million in its series B round with over 5X growth last year. The concept is Food sharing app development to reduce food waste. Tessa Clarke and Saasha Celestial-One found an app—Olio, in 2015 out of their personal frustration of perfectly good food being thrown away. 

Olio food sharing app lets users hand out unwanted food and household items to neighbors. The mission-driven app reduces food waste in the home, helping people to consume more locally and sustainably simultaneously. From $6M in series A in 2018 to $43M in B, app funding itself brags how efficiently the idea has emerged.

What has Olio achieved so far?

Over the course of five years, the app has gained remarkable success:

  • 3,631,253 app users, and the company is aiming to attract one billion users worldwide by 2030.
  • It has saved over 52,355,572 equivalent car miles by enabling sharing of over 17,829,996 Portions of food. 
  • There are 75,891 OLIO volunteer Ambassadors and Food Waste Heroes.
  • Featured by BBC, ITV, Guardian, Wired, Time Out, Vogue & The Sunday Times.
  • It is a stroke of luck for local food restaurants, empowering them to give away surplus food sustainably and earn positive optics from local customers.
  • Huge businesses like Tesco, Pret a Manger, Compass Catering, and Costa Coffee approach Olio to maintain their sustainability.
  • Tesco has put its 2700 U.K. stores on the platform to redistribute surplus food nearing its sell-by date through OLIO’s network.

Before building any concept, every entrepreneur must know whether there is a demand for it. So, let us see whether the world needs another app like Olio. 

Why develop a food-sharing app like Olio?

A farmer’s daughter Clarke has some serious ambition that stretches the app beyond the food waste issue. 

In a statement, Clarke profoundly stated: “We have this enormous ambition because humanity cannot continue to puzzle over how to keep global warming within 1.5 degrees and feed a population of 10 billion –  whilst continuing to throw away one-third of the food we produce, and consuming as if we have 1.75 planets. In solving these twin problems, we aim to build one of the most transformational companies of our generation.” 

Besides, the world is facing a severe problem of food wasting and hunger. 

  • One trillion dollars worth of food goes waste annually, with edible food ending up in landfills.
  • It is approximately 1/3rd of global food production or 1.4 billion tons. 
  • Food waste is also responsible for approximately 8% of global greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Over 2 million tonnes of the food that goes to waste each year is still edible, which is enough for 1.3 billion meals —Food waste during primary production in the UK.
  • 8.4 million people in the UK are struggling to afford to eat, which is equivalent to the entire population of London — Food waste and hunger in the UK  
  • The report says about 61 percent of the food waste happens in households, while the foodservice industry (26%) and retailers (13%) account for the remainder. — New report on how much food is wasted in Canada 
  • In the United States, food waste is estimated at between 30-40 percent of the food supply — Food Waste.  

The above statistics are enough to prove food waste and world hunger needs innovative solutions like Olio. Moreover, in a recent survey of 11,000 OLIO users, 64% stated they would definitely buy homemade food and products from people within a square mile of their home. That certifies Olio-like app development is worth a chance.

Now let’s move on to how to approach a food sharing app development like Olio.

How To Develop A Food Sharing App Like Olio?


Though it seems like food delivery app development, the food sharing app is different altogether. Olio is a non-profit organization at its core. Speaking of how it makes money, however, the app charges for its Food Waste Heroes program from larger businesses. The service covers pick-up and distribution of all types of food from anywhere.

Although revenue generated through this program could not cover their expenditure base. Hence, the free food sharing app incorporated an additional yet common revenue stream, providing subscription plans with advanced features.

Want to strategize your business model differently?


Developing an app takes loads of effort than just conceptualizing. The foremost thing is how it will work that is directly associated with the project requirements, including app features. Referring to Olio’s working model, it goes like: 

  • Users need to install the app and create or log in to their profile;
  • They can take or upload an image of food with a basic description, location, and preferable collection time;
  • The food then get collected and distributed to the desired recipient;
  • There are volunteers and ‘Food Waste Heroes’ who help to share the benefits of OLIO within local communities, helping local businesses to collect any unsold or surplus food from restaurants, supermarkets, and local cafes. 

Now let us check features to carry out the above functionality.


  • Sign up & log in with email
  • Set location
  • User onboarding 
  • Profile management — mobile, address, listing, etc.
  • Give away food and household stuff
  • Sell handmade crafts
  • Category filter
  • Map
  • In-app messaging 
  • Forum 
  • Listing management
  • Gamification with some goals or challenges
  • Discover nearby users 
  • Push Notifications 
  • Profile analytics

What about the cost to Develop an App like Olio?

The mobile app development cost is highly volatile. It varies depending on the app development approach (native or cross-platform) you choose, how your app design should look, and whether to outsource or freelance your project. Not to mention, the location you target and the location of your development team also play a role in the cost structure.  

To be on the safe side, you should reserve around $20000 to $25000 for your project. Nonetheless, having your concept validated through an MVP before stepping ahead can save you ample money and time. The rest is up to you!

Fetch Up

An app like Olio is not only transforming the Economy but also provides valuable support for people in need of food and supplies. Though it started as a community-based free food sharing app, users have grown to share spare gifts, toys, clothing, and books. While this can be a new side of the app, Olio will continue to grow in its own flow.

The world is susceptible to online solutions since COVID-19 as such solutions come with minimum interaction requirements. If there’s any solution in your head to solve a real problem, don’t put it off. You never know who else comes with a similar but better solution the next day.

Sanjay Kidecha

Sanjay Kidecha is the Chief Finance Officer at Kody Technolab and a Fintech geek. With one foot in finance and the other in tech, Sanjay likes to write on emerging Fintech trends, ideas, and how-to guides to keep industry leaders updated with the ever-changing world of fintech!

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