OLIO case study 2 950x300

Using behavioural analytics and AI to tackle food waste



UK startup OLIO is a food sharing app used by millions of people around the world. The app tackles the huge environmental impact of waste, by enabling users to share unwanted food and household items with their neighbours. As of November 2021, it is the most popular service of its kind, with more than 5 million users who have successfully given away 35 million portions of food and 3 million non-food items.

The OLIO founders wanted to develop a better understanding of their customers to drive their next phase of growth.

The KTP has provided us with access to a skillset that we could never have developed on our own. We’ve also received enormous support from the faculty at Nottingham and have built a relationship that is going to last for many years to come.
Tessa Clarke, Co-Founder, OLIO

What we did

The university started a Knowledge Transfer Partnership with OLIO – transferring our cutting-edge research into a real-world application. Our research centre, N/LAB is a centre of excellence in business analytics using big data, psychology and machine learning to investigate mass datasets. We analysed OLIO’s user base using a combination of behavioural sciences, network analysis and artificial intelligence.  


The research developed new insights into OLIO’s users and their sharing patterns. Modelling of user and engagement growth will lead OLIO into a new phase of its development.

The partnership secured further funding to develop the world’s first Food Insecurity Map, a predictive model showing food insecurity based on geographical location. A version of this map has been deployed live in Havering Borough Council to help understand food insecurity and intervene with those most in need.