Olio app: what is the food sharing app, how does it work, where to download, which UK supermarkets are on it?

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Martin Lewis’ MoneySavingExpert explains how to get free food from stores including Tesco and Pret A Manger

Martin Lewis ’ MoneySavingExpert (MSE) has explained how to get free food from various supermarkets and stores to help cut down on costs.

The latest MSE newsletter shares top tips for getting free or cheap food, with people able to bag some freebies using the food waste app Olio.

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Martin Lewis advised households on a low income to check what benefits they may be entitled to (Photo: ITV)Martin Lewis advised households on a low income to check what benefits they may be entitled to (Photo: ITV)
Martin Lewis advised households on a low income to check what benefits they may be entitled to (Photo: ITV)

What is Olio?

Olio is a free sharing app where people give away food and other household items to people living close by.

Everything listed on the app should be free, as it is being given away, so you should not have to pay for any items that are available.

The idea of the app is to avoid binning surplus food and instead sign up to Olio to offer it to the local community.

Which UK shops are on the app?

The company works with big organisations including Tesco and Pret A Manger, as well as small independent bakeries and cafes, to send out volunteers to collect surplus food that would otherwise be thrown away.

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These volunteers collect any spare food from these stores and then list it on the app so that people who live nearby can come and collect it for free. People collect the items from the volunteers, rater than the store itself.

If you spot something on the app that you like, you simply request it and send a message to arrange a pick-up.

What did MoneySavingExpert say?

In the latest newsletter, the MSE team said: “The Olio app is mainly known for offering up grub for nowt - the idea being instead of binning surplus food, people or stores offer it to their local community.

“When we checked on Mon, we saw bread, fruit and veg, pastries and more offered.

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“People also give away other items, such as clothes, furniture and toys - it’s hit and miss, but often hit.”

How to join Olio

Olio is free to download through the App Store or Google Play, and you begin by signing up for a new account using your email address and confirming your location.

After you are logged in, you can browse food items nearby and then request an item by clicking on the listing.

Are there any similar apps? 

Too Good To Go works similarly to Olio and has partnered with brands such as Costa, Greggs and M&S and independent shops to sell “magic bags” of food that would otherwise be thrown out.

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Prices begin from £2 for a bag, rising to around £5 depending on the store you choose.

The only downside to this app is that you cannot choose what food you get as it depends on what is available on a given day.

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