Here at Eco & Beyond we love food and hate food waste. The solutions to this massive global issue tend to revolve around reducing, reusing or recycling waste. Today we’re going to look at a UK startup that reuses food waste to make delicious, healthy fruit jerky.
What is Food Waste?
We’ve written about gadgets that reduce food waste, apps that help you share food waste, charities like Food Cycle and Rob Greenfield’s Food Waste Fiasco road trip across the States. But what is food waste?
When I first heard the term “food waste”, I incorrectly imagined a rotting pile of warm, smelly refuse. My nose turned up as it does each Sunday evening when I take out the bins.
Food waste can actually come in many different guises and is generated in numerous places along the food chain. This can include:
- Food wasted at farms due to overproduction and mechanised harvesting techniques that damage crops or fail to reach each piece of produce
- Produce rejected at the farm for not conforming to cosmetic shape and size guidelines for retailers
- Damaged food during transportation, packaging and distribution, especially if it’s delayed in transit and pushed outside the boundaries of its best before dates
- Food thrown away by supermarkets due to overstocking, cosmetic defects, packaging issues or temperature changes – often in huge volumes
- Food thrown away by restaurants, hotels and other food outlets during preparation of meals, due to overproduction and inefficiencies in ordering, storage and refrigeration
- Food that doesn’t meet the relevant safety levels, customer standards or preferences
- Food thrown away at home due to buying too much, cooking too much and bad storage
- Discarding leftovers and, more understandably, in the form of inedible peels, stalks, roots and ends which are indigestible
Food waste occurs at the farms, throughout the supply chain, at supermarkets, in hotels and restaurants and in the home. It’s a massive issue. In the UK alone, we waste 15 million tonnes of food each year. Consumers are responsible for throwing away around 4.2 million tonnes of edible food . Most commonly wasted are fresh fruit and veg, bread and milk.
How to Reuse Food Waste
Reusing ‘waste’ might sound like a strange concept. In reality, it’s just turning perfectly good food that would otherwise go to waste into something different. It’s only waste when we throw it away.
In the home, we can look to turn vegetable trimmings into a soup or dip. Uneaten fruit that’s getting overripe could be turned into a smoothie or frozen until a later date to be used in a cake or dessert.
Reusing food waste in the home is one part to the solution. This practice of reuse is also becoming a popular approach for food startups – and established companies – looking to produce ethical products made with food that would otherwise go to waste.
We’ve written about ChicP, a UK startup and winner of a food innovation award for their food waste dips, have interviewed Regrained about their granola bars made from the by-product of beer making, as well as talking to Toast Ale who brew beer with surplus bread.
Today, we’d like to introduce you to another UK company that use food surplus to make their delicious, healthy fruit snacks.
Fruit Jerky Made From Surplus Food
Snact is a UK food startup that make fruit jerky snacks from surplus fruit.
They help tackle food waste at the farm and retail level by turning produce that would otherwise be thrown away (for being too big, too small, too ugly, or simply too abundant) into a completely new product.
Snact co-founders Ilana and Michael joined forces in 2013 and ditched their desk jobs for the food startup lifestyle. Their mission was to combine their passions for food and sustainability and do something more meaningful and worthwhile.
They started Snact by collecting surplus fruit at London’s wholesale markets and made fruit snacks in a kitchen in Hackney which they then sold at markets and events across London.
The fruit jerky snacks are a blend of dried fruits made into bite-sized pieces; similar in shape, size and delicious chewiness to the more traditional meat jerky popular in the states but gaining traction here in Europe.
Not only are the snacks delicious, they’re vegan, gluten-free and healthy. Each pack counting as one of your five a day.
Snactivism: The More You Snack, The More You Act
The team behind Snact have worked hard to make a tasty, healthy product but they’ve not lost sight of their mission to make positive change.
Sometimes it’s hard to imagine how we can make a dent in an issue as vast as global food waste. It can be difficult to see how we can make a difference in our own city, let alone our own country. But big change will only ever come as a result of many small steps.
We believe that we can help make positive change in the food system through education, inspiration and entertainment; by raising awareness and celebrating the work of those building the future of food. Snact take a similar view and have coined the term Snactivism to refer to the small steps we can take to make a big positive change in the field of food waste. As they put it:
“By using surplus produce, we tackle the causes of food waste so that with every snack, you make a positive act.”
To combat the massive issue of food waste we need to work together as a community. Share this post to spread the message about food waste and encourage others to reduce and reuse food waste where possible.