A simple process with safeguards at every stage

Step 1: Olio recruits and trains volunteers

Volunteers must pass our in-app food safety and hygiene training before they can collect any food. This covers everything they need to know about collecting and storing food safely.  They must also agree to our Volunteer Agreement and complete our kitchen self-assessment.


Step 2: You donate (safe) surplus food

Businesses must make sure surplus food is safe to eat. That means it’s been stored at the appropriate temperature, is properly labelled and packaged, and is within use-by date (past best before date is fine!). We accept all food types – from chilled to cooked, frozen or loose. Allergen info can be hosted on our website or handed to volunteers directly.

Step 3: Volunteers collect your food

At the time of collection, volunteers meet with your staff, check the dates, temperature and condition of the food and take it home. Volunteers live close by, and only take what they can safely transport and store.

Note: Olio takes responsibility for the food from here (contractually!). 


Step 4: App users collect food from our volunteers

Once home, our volunteers list food on Olio’s app and store it appropriately until requesters come and pick it up. Pick-ups are always in person from the volunteers’ doorstep, and chilled/frozen food is stored in their fridge/freezer while they wait for requestors to arrive. 

Safe food sharing powered by tech

Health and safety authority vetting

  • Our HACCP study and Food Safety Management System (FSMS) is reviewed and vetted by our primary EHO in the UK every year.
  • We act as a liaison between local EHOs and volunteers.
  • We hold monthly food safety meetings with our EHO and external food safety advisors.

Volunteer training and support

  • Online food safety training is mandatory for all our volunteers.
  • We run regular in-app quizzes and reminders to make sure volunteers remember what they learnt during their training.
  • Our in-depth FAQs on food safety, group chats and community forum give volunteers a place to get answers to their questions.
  • We’ve got a zero tolerance policy on bad food safety behaviour (non-compliant volunteers will be banned).

Reporting and traceability 

  • We have end-to-end traceability of where you food ends up once our volunteers collect it.
  • In-app flag reporting allows users and volunteers to report  issues 24/7.
  • We’ve got unparalleled product recall capacities.

Supporting our partners

  • We provide you and your staff with guidelines and training on safe food sharing. 
  • We’ve made it as simple as possible to share allergen information.

Guided by the experts

Building a best-in-class Food Safety Management System

Sterling Crew and Jo Betts explain how they helped to develop Olio’s innovative approach to food safety.

How Olio keeps your food safe

Read our second interview with Sterling Crew, president of the Institute of Food Science and Technology, on how Olio keeps food donated by our partner businesses 100% safe.


Our track record proves our process works

In 2023, here’s what we achieved:

34 m
items of food safely shared
complaints received per million items of food shared
confirmed food poisoning incidents

Even so – we don’t take any chances. We remove all volunteers who don’t comply with our food safety policies.

Hear what our customers are saying

Volunteers are thoroughly trained to keep food safe

A big thing for us was finding a way to share hot meals in a way that complied with our back-of-house due diligence requirements, which until we found Olio, we struggled to do. There weren’t really any available routes for us to share cooked food. What’s great about Olio is that you guys take responsibility for the food once it’s been collected, and volunteers are thoroughly trained to keep it safe.

Kelly Spratt

Sales and Marketing Director, Olive Dining

Food Waste Heroes know their stuff

So long as we look after it, I’m very comfortable that your Food Waste Heroes really know their stuff on food safety.

Elliot Seabourn-Wren

Chef Patron, The Carlton Ilfracombe