We know that food waste is a huge worldwide problem; so is hunger. Fortunately, today’s featured video on the BBC website points out that the waste food-sharing app Olio is helping leftover food get to hungry people instead of the landfill. In the new video, the BBC traces the efforts of Poppy, a samaritan who goes around to bakeries and picks up their excess, then posts on Olio—some loaves of bread, focaccia, bagels, doughnuts on a good day—to strangers who then come pick the food up.
It’s a simple yet ingenious idea, and certainly is dependent on “Food Waste Heroes” (an Olio job title) like Poppy who distribute food to everyone from young adults to the elderly. One participant points out, “I’m a student; this way I get free food.” The Olio website points out that “between 33-50 percent of all food produced globally is never eaten, and the value of this wasted food is worth over $1 trillion… Food waste is a massive market inefficiency, the kind of which does not persist in other industries.”
The project incorporated in 2015, and is now the world’s largest food-sharing organization, with 450,000 participants. Although still run from a small flat in London, it is used in 32 countries, with half-a-million food items distributed via the app already. Olio’s founders also discovered that a third of app users fall under the poverty line, making the project even more vital. It’s a great idea that should be reproduced in as many countries as possible, particularly a waste-heavy nation like the U.S.; find out more on the BBC’s website today.