Surplus food app attracts 6,600 Islanders in first year

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In total more than 30,000 listings of surplus food have been posted locally on the Olio app in the past 12 months.

And now the Islander who brought it to Jersey is in talks to expand to Guernsey, where she hopes it will be just as successful.

The app, which works by connecting individuals to each other and with local businesses to prevent food from going to waste, now has 6,600 local users.

And Elis Joudalova, who launched the app in Jersey, praised her ‘extraordinary team’ of 35 dedicated volunteers – nearly all of whom are women.

Speaking after celebrating the one year anniversary on Wednesday, Miss Joudalova said it has been incredibly encouraging to see how well the app had been received by Islanders. She said: ‘It has been a crazy and incredible year. The issue of sustainability is really important and saving food waste from the bin so it can be used by others is connected to so many other issues.’

Since Olio’s Jersey launch, local businesses such as the Channel Islands Co-operative Society, Bento, and Alliance have signed up to be distributors.

Food is collected – or ‘rescued’ – by volunteers from distributors and then posted on the app. People are then able to request what they would like before collecting it from volunteers’ homes. And only food that is past its best-before date but not its use-by date can be distributed.

Among some of the more memorable ‘food rescues’, according to Miss Joudalova, was one volunteer collecting 600 loaves of bread in one pick-up, while on a separate occasion a volunteer was called out to collect more than ten crates of bananas.

‘It is unbelievable how much food almost gets thrown away,’ she added.

The app was initially launched in the UK in 2015 and has had more than 214,000 food items shared in total.

Miss Joudalova said she was amazed at the success of the initiative in such a short space of time and thanked the Olio volunteers as well as the ‘many wonderful businesses’ that give them their surplus food.

She added that she was in talks to expand the team and service to other locations, including Guernsey.

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