With its latest funding, Olio aims to push its international expansion in key markets like Latin American, Northern Europe, and Asia.
Food wastage has become one of the most pressing global issues that significantly contribute to world hunger. According to the Food Waste Index Report 2021, produced jointly by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and WRAP, 17 percent of all food available to consumers (about 23 million fully-loaded 40-tonne trucks) went into trash bins in 2019. The report further says that if we want to get serious about tackling food waste, we need to increase efforts to measure food and inedible parts wasted at retail and consumer level, and also track food waste generation in kilograms per capita at the country level.
To battle the global food waste crisis, startups are coming up with innovative ways to impact the planet positively. London-based Olio has been steadfast in its mission to reduce food waste. Founded in 2015 by Tessa Clarke and Saasha Celestial-One, Olio, through its free app, connects neighbors and local businesses so surplus food can be shared, not thrown away. Olio includes food nearing its sell-by date in local stores, spare home-grown vegetables, bread from the baker, or the groceries in the fridge. Since its launch, Olio has made many additions, such as including non-food household items like toiletries, kitchen appliances, books, clothes and toys. Olio has an active presence in 49 countries like Bangladesh, Australia, Ireland, Bahrain, Hong Kong and Singapore.
The hyperlocal food sharing app has now 1.8 million users all over the world sharing over 3.4 million portions of food. That’s the equivalent of preventing 2,898 CO2 emissions from entering the atmosphere and eliminating 9,852,126 car miles from the road.
Olio announced last week that they have secured a US$34 million Series B funding to push its global expansion. The funding round was led by VNV Global and Lugard Road Capital, with participation from Accel, Octopus Ventures, Rubio, Jason Stockwood, Lord Waheed Alli, DX Ventures, Alumni Ventures and Flight Ventures.
Apart from its international expansion plans in key markets, like Latin American, Northern Europe, and Asia, Olio is looking to roll out its Food Waste Heroes (FWH) initiative. The initiative supports food businesses and restaurants worldwide in their hunt to achieve zero food waste locations. Each FWH volunteer collects surplus food from local businesses, brings it home, lists it on the Olio app, and redistributes the food to their neighbors, who will then pick up the food.
According to the Olio website, over 30,000 OLIO FWH volunteers currently collect surplus food from major food chains such as Pret A Manger, Compass Catering, Costa Coffee and Elior. In August 2020, Tesco became the first supermarket to partner with Olio for the Food Waste Heroes programme.
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