In 2011 a left my job in a hedge fund to start what people thought was a crazy notion: creating a 1st class delicious food brand from surplus.
I had a vision to create a brand that both addressed and raised awareness about unnecessary food waste. I called it Rubies in the Rubble.
Globally just under 1 billion people go hungry yet we throw away 1/3 of the food we produce (ample amounts to feed those in need). At the same time we are chopping down forest areas to grow more - panicking over increasing food demands and growing populations.
These facts evoke a reaction in me - there must be a cleverer solution.
We are all very aware of the problems that climate change and deforestation have on the sustainability of our planet. Food waste however is an enormous growing issue affecting our resources that seems to go under looked or thought of as less significant.
You could think I was bonkers and wonder how reducing our food waste in the UK could help food impoverished communities overseas but with the majority of food being bought on the global market, our food demand (consumed + wasted) affects how much is left in the market.
So simply, if we wasted less we would demand less and keep more on the market for others.
As an example of the scale of the problems connected to food waste; if we were to simply plant trees on land currently used to grow unnecessary surplus/ wasted food, this would theoretically offset 100% of the current greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuel combustion. Similarly, with the 40 million tonnes of food wasted in the US alone there would be enough to satisfy the hunger of every one of the one billion malnourished people in the world today.
'Rubies in the Rubble' uses fresh fruit and veg, which would otherwise go to waste, to make delicious food products. We make our products from what are known as 'out grades'- curly cucumbers, tiny peppers, soft tomatoes- that have failed to meet supermarket specifications and can represent over 20% of a farmer's crop.
There are many reasons for food waste on various levels - consumer attitudes, aesthetic standards, government policies, packaging, storage and transportation. However, in the UK the majority of food wasted occurs in the home, which empowers us all to be able to make a change. Making preserves is one easy and a very traditional British way of saving - which is why the first products we launched were a range of chutneys and jams.
Let's be the solution together: Eat in season, plan your shops, use your freezer and get creative with your leftovers!