Brighton is to become the latest UK city to adopt a pioneering food-sharing scheme.
From March 5th 2016, residents will be able to sign up to OLIO, a free smart phone application connecting locals to share their surplus food.
Shops and cafes will also be able to use the service, enabling them to offer leftover products and provide convenient ‘drop box’ locations where people living nearby can take unwanted food.
Users take pictures of their unused products and invite neighbours to come and pick them up.
Those looking to collect items can use the app to browse what is available in their area, request certain products and message to arrange a pick-up. The food, which has to be within its expiry date, is either free or heavily discounted.
The scheme was first launched in June 2015 by Saasha Celestial-One and Tessa Cook, the former managing director of payday loan giant, Wonga.
It was initially founded in north London, with more than 100,000 people living “everywhere from £8m mansions to council estates” downloading it in just four months.
It was set up in response to statistics which show the average British family throws away £700 worth of food every a year. Across the UK, the total amount of waste is estimated at £12.5bn annually.
The scheme has already been unrolled in Bristol and Bath and has been supported by MPs, chefs, and celebrities, who agree the application has helped raise awareness of the scale of food waste across Britain. They have also praised the way in which it has helped connect local communities.
There are also plans to introduce the service in more towns and cites across the UK, with new locations based on the areas where the app has been downloaded most.
Olio are also looking for volunteers, or “ambassadors” across the country who can speak to local shops and cafes about the benefits of using the facility, and encourage neighbours, colleagues and friends to use it.
“We are a social enterprise with a strong mission which underpins everything we do,” said Tessa Cook.
“Our mission is to connect neighbours with each other and with local shops in order to solve the tragedy of food waste.”
If you would like to become an OLIO ambassador for your area, email the company’s Community Marketing Manager at hello@OLIOex.com