SHOPPERS have just realised a way to get their groceries for free.

The tip comes from downloading surplus food app Olio, which is free to install.

A surplus food app lets you take home supermarket leftover products, which would otherwise go to waste, for free or for a discounted price.

For the app Olio, you can often get bread, fruit and veg, pastries and more. There's also an option to browse non-food items.

If you use Olio, you don’t pick up the food directly from the store but collect it from an Olio volunteer, but you can arrange when and where between yourselves.

One shopper posted about using Olio for her recent food haul, sharing it to Facebook group Extreme Couponing and Bargains UK.

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She wrote: "For anyone interested, there is an app called Olio, it’s to save food waste going into landfill.

"I collect weekly from Tesco and distribute the food to people through the app, it’s great, benefits the local community and also stops food going into landfill…

"Get yourselves on there and grab some freebies."

Other customers were also thrilled, with one commenting: "I discovered Olio in January it has been wonderful. The best bit is everything is free.

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"It helps make the little I have spread throughout the week."

And one more put: "It's great. I've been able to collect gluten free foods for my Coeliac daughter from lovely volunteers."

Do keep in mind, however, that what's available will be subject to your local area.

It may be different every day.

And you need to be fast if you want something – usually items are snatched up quickly and there's limited produce available.

And always keep in mind the food you'll get won't be as fresh as what you'd buy directly from your local grocery store.

How do I get free food from Olio?

Firstly, you need to download the app. It's free to do from either the App Store or Google Play.

You'll then need to sign up – it'll just need your name and email address, or you can sign in through Facebook.

It should display an option thereafter to type in your post code or local area so it knows where to look for surplus food.

Everything should then be fairly self-explanatory.

Your homepage will show local listings of food being offered around the community – you can send a lister a message if you like the look of something, then agree on a time and place to collect the product.

There's also an option to set up notifications for when a new listing is added.

You'll be able to view any lister's profile and information about them before you request a product as well.

What if I want to share surplus food?

You can do that too – it's for both collecting and sharing surplus food.

Just take a picture of your product and set your location so it shows up for the local community.

You'll get notified when you have a request and you can check out their profile first before you decide to share your food with them.

What other surplus food apps are there?

You can also try Too Good To Go which offers food from big chains including Greggs, Burger King, Morrisons and M&S.

It's also free to download, but this time you'll need to pay for your surplus food.

For example, you can buy a “magic bag” of food through the app for around £3 and then pick it up directly from the store.

These are usually worth £10-£12 altogether.

But you don’t know what’s inside, so you can’t guarantee you’ll have what you need.

And do be careful when you're buying meat using Too Good To Good – you'll want to make sure the sell-by date isn't too soon, and even so you should check the colour and smell of the meat to be sure.

There's also Karma, where you can shop reduced items online for a smaller price.

But this one displays clothes too, so it's a good one to download if you want to browse for a wider range of items.

How else can I save on my supermarket shop?

You don't need to buy surplus stock just to save money on your food bill.

Keep an eye out for loyalty schemes in stores – for example, Tesco has its Clubcard scheme which lets you buy selected products at a discounted rate.

You'll see yellow tags under prices where there is a subsequent Clubcard price.

And each time you spend £1 in store and online, you get one point when you scan your card or app.

There's also the Asda Rewards scheme which lets you collect Asda Pounds and use them to get money off your shop.

One shopper saved a whopping £40 just by using this scheme.

There are also grants available through the Household Support Fund, for instance, which ends this month.

It's where local councils dish out their share from a massive £421million government pot to local residents – each council decides what it's for and who needs it.

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Many offer food vouchers to cash-tight families, but it's best to get in touch with your local council to see what's on offer and if you're eligible.

Call up your local council if you're not sure what's on offer – you can find it using the council tracker tool on the government website.

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