16 Aug Meet the ethical food pioneers reducing food waste
Mindful baby food? Fair wage coffee roasters? Zero waste fruit jerky makers? Meet the latest crop of ethical food producers who are changing the way we think about our food, brought to you by our friends at the ethical grocer Farmdrop.
Friends Alex and Jack make delightfully colourful cans of British sparkling spring water infused with misshapen fruit and vegetables. Bored of sugary, artificial offerings, Dash was born out of a daily ritual of bringing their own infused waters to the office (they met selling mainstream fizzy soft drinks). Having witnessed firsthand the problem of food waste in their farming backgrounds, the pair only use natural ingredients and surplus fruit and veg. The result? A flavour-packed fizzy drink with no added sugar, sweeteners or calories.
It’s not often you come across baby food with provenance. But honest, independent, and organic sustenance for Britain’s young kids is exactly what Piccolo have set out to achieve. Piccolo only use the highest quality ingredients such as cheddar from Bristol and chickpeas from southern France to give babies a well-rounded natural diet, and parents a piece of mind. Founder Catherine Gazzoli is Italian and says her Mediterranean roots, as well as her work in food education for the UN before heading up Slow Food UK, “made it clear that there was a real need for a baby-food brand that was healthy, delicious and rooted in real family values”.
Clever co-founders Ilana and Michael take sustainable snacking to a whole new level. Armed with kilos of surplus fruit from wholesale markets and a dehydrator, the lifelong friends began their journey to fight food waste in 2013. A successful crowdfunding campaign later and the pair now take unwanted produce by the tonne from farms and pack-houses to make handmade fruit jerky. On a mission to reduce waste across the whole process, their jerky is wrapped in 100% home compostable packaging. Not content with stopping there, they recently raised £10k to help stop 1.4m bananas going to waste every day by turning them into wholesome banana bars.
Property developers are a force to be reckoned with, and unfortunately urban orchards are among those pressured to make way – The National Trust estimates 60% of England’s traditional orchards have vanished since the ‘50s. The Orchard Project’s wider agenda is all about protecting the urban orchards we have left, as well as helping plant and nurture new ones. Their latest project – creating a cider and apple juice made entirely from London-grown apples – rolls out very soon.
Exploitation in the coffee trade is no small issue. It was recently reported, for instance, that many Brazilian farmers (Brazil being the largest producer of coffee in the world) were each on a payroll amounting to less than half of Brazil’s legal minimum wage. Pact’s answer is to ignore the middleman so they could reach out to farmers to supply the coffee for their Bermondsey roastery themselves, paying these farmers a decent wage as they go.