Looking to longstanding human techniques of prolonging the life of food through preservation, Rubies in the Rubble has created a sustainable range of products that add value to ‘out of spec’ produce, meet consumer demand, and create a point of difference in the retail and hospitality space.
"...definitely showcases what we're all about in a really interesting way: taking an ingredient that was a waste product, and really trying to find a demand for it.”
Rubies in the Rubble first considers what types of produce are generating greater amounts of waste, and then looks to develop products that use them in a way that appeals to consumers.
"...which is a byproduct of cooking chickpeas. It has the same properties as egg whites. So we've teamed up with hummus manufacturers. And when they cook their chickpeas, they normally throw away that water. We collect that water, turn it into a powder so it's in an ambient state and then use it for our mayonnaise."
"I’ll take things that are undersized, oversized. Sometimes, if it's a cherry tomato that has a short shelf life, or they've got too much and the demand for it wasn’t realized, or if it fails that test and that prick test of the 15 day life, we'll take it. We can turn it into a relish that then adds a two year life on it and adds value to the tomato."
of preserving food to extend its shelf life and add value to produce that is not fit for the high aesthetic standards of supermarkets, or doesn’t have the shelf life for transporting to and displaying in stores.
"And then at the other end, it's governed by us and our demand, which is also unpredictable. And in the middle, these giant supermarkets are showing everything in plentiful volumes. With it being perishable, what happened when that supply and demand didn’t add up?”
producing condiments including tomato ketchup, mayonnaise and relishes made from food that otherwise would have gone to waste. Started by Jenny Costa in 2012, Rubies in the Rubble supplies their products to some of the UK’s most recognised retailers and restaurants.
"...You'll be growing rice and putting it onto a global market. Sometimes western countries might be demanding more than they actually need and taking more out of the global supply chain."
"You've got the food waste on the plate, and then out the back trying to understand what the demand is going to be for different things on the menu and wanting to give the consumer choice. And then in our own homes."
"It's very hard for them to manage supply and demand of what's going to sell and what's not. Sometimes, just to make the shelves look full and abundant and make people feel like they want to pick that product. One lonely melon often doesn't do it!"
"The specifications on produce (result) in a lot of waste: if you're turning on and off a production line, or you've got fresh produce and you don't know what the demand again is going to be in your planning. You're often having to start making an order three or four days before the order is due and the demand might change."
"(A bad crop) will simply be thrown away because the price is not good enough to bother harvesting it."
"And when it's packaged up so beautifully, it's hard to relate to, that something comes in seasons, it's governed by weather, and all of those things that we need to make sure that farming and our food system is something that serves our planet as well."
"It's the third largest emitter of carbon after China and America, if it was a country. And we're planning to double our food supply by 2050 to feed the expected 9 billion on the planet, but yet wasting a third of what we produce.”
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