This App Offers Free Meals and Helps to Eliminate Food Waste

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Over $165 billion worth of food is thrown into the trash each year in American households. However, this can all be changed with one app.

Olio was launched in 2015 by Tessa Cook and Saasha Celestial-One. The mobile app, available for Android and iPhone, connects local communities, businesses and food stores with members of their community. The users upload photos and descriptions for the food they no longer want or need and provide a time and pickup location for people to come and collect the food for free.

The app also allows users to get to know their community as well as provide an opportunity to waste as little food as possible. It is a perfect tool for cafés and bakeries to upload unsold food at the end of the day.

Olio has also become a source of food for many families. "We have people who email us to say thank you because their families would have not have eaten that night had it not been for Olio," Cook tells CNN.

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One of the challenges the app faces is finding the right areas to serve so they can provide for as many people as possible. The creators currently rely on 11,000 volunteers to spread the word about Olio.

Cook brainstormed this idea when she moved homes in 2014. "I was moving country and found myself with food that we hadn't managed to eat," she recalls. "The removal men told me I had to bin it. Instead I went into the street to give the food away but I failed miserably. I thought, why isn't there an app for this?" 

The app will gain profit from creating premium listings for users who want priority access to food lists and by providing a selection for classified ads.

Olio has been downloaded more than 180,000 times and is the most popular in Sweden and the United States.

"Our ambitious goal is that hundreds of millions of people of all over the world are using Olio to share our most precious resources, rather than chuck them in the bin," says Cook.


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Sarah Halper |

After graduating from the University of Iowa with a degree in Journalism and Mass Communications as well as Sports Management, Sarah Halper has put plenty of time and effort in perfecting her reporting skills. She is a true pop culture enthusiast at heart, which makes for a wide variety of knowledge. When she isn’t consuming timely news, you can find her enjoying her favorite sporting events and eating her way through Chicago.