Food waste is a major issue in New Zealand and across the globe, with forty percent of all fruit and vegetables grown in New Zealand being dumped. The methane emitted from rotting food in landfills and on farms contributes significantly to greenhouse gas emissions.
According to a 2018 study from Love Food Hate Waste, New Zealand households throw away 157,389 tonnes of food a year. This is enough food to feed Dunedin for three years!
As you can see the problem is huge and this is why we at EatKinda are committed to reducing food waste by turning cosmetically imperfect cauliflower into delicious ice cream.
So why is there so much cauliflower food waste?
Cauliflower is grown all year round in New Zealand, and in some seasons, it grows better than others. When it is growing well, there are flushes of cauliflower, where supply is much higher than demand, which results in the florets being left on the farms to rot.
Due to weather factors during different seasons, cauliflowers can grow too big, and because supermarkets purchase per carton, larger cauliflowers are rejected.
Seasonality factors can also lead to cauliflower looking odd in shape or they may have a slight purple pigment on them. They are perfectly fine to eat, but if they don't meet the beauty standards of retailers, they will not be purchased and will instead be left on the farm to rot.
How much cauliflower have we saved?
During our trial production in 2022, we were successfully able to divert 468 kilograms from food waste, to put that into perspective that is approximately 310 cauliflower florets that would’ve otherwise been left to rot on farms across New Zealand.
We hope this inspires you to consider how you can minimise what gets chucked in your bin at home. If every New Zealander was able to divert a few kilograms of food waste each year - together we could make a significant impact on reducing our carbon footprint.
Our commitment to sustainable food systems
It’s fair to say that sustainability is at the heart of everything we do. We’re proud that our work in the food sector has a direct impact on food waste reduction. Less food waste means less methane emissions, contributing to lower greenhouse gases.
We’re a world-first product so we truly are paving the way for the food sector. Promoting innovation by encouraging other organisations to consider creative ways to use imperfect produce.
We’re not picky when it comes to how our produce looks, and we hope we’ve inspired you to be more inclusive when it comes to your fruit and vegetables.
Supporting New Zealand growers
By using cosmetically imperfect cauliflowers to make ice cream, we're not only giving this produce another life, we're also creating another income stream for farmers. New Zealand farmers put so much money, time, and resources into their crops, and for only half of it to be sold is a significant loss. We're proud to be doing our part in supporting local farmers.
Hell Pizza launch and the Auckland floods
Of course, any start-up journey doesn’t come without its hiccups and one month prior to launch we were hurled into one of the most devastating scenarios. At the beginning of 2023 we were all set and ready to go for a February launch with Hell Pizza. There was an abundance of cauliflower with the Summer growing season in full-force, and unfortunately with Auckland floods, all of this was washed away in a flash.
With the cauliflower flush destroyed, and the supermarkets buying the majority of the cauliflower stock in New Zealand, we were left scrambling to source cauliflower for our launch.
We managed to push out the launch by a few weeks to give us time to source our star-ingredient in our cauliflower plant-based ice cream. And in the end we were able to source wholesale cauliflower. We did our best with the cards we were dealt.
The Auckland floods and the impact they had on our business were a great reminder of how important it is for us to continue to innovate our processes to be efficient. We are aiming to get to a point where we have a system in place that can process the cauliflower when it is in flush so that it is ready and there for us to use in production.
We wouldn’t be able to do any of this without our fantastic stakeholders who are pioneering the reduction of food waste in New Zealand. Without their help and guidance our cauliflower plant-based ice cream wouldn’t be a reality. We’d like to give a special thanks to the below people:
Wendy at Perfectly Imperfect, a social enterprise that is purpose-driven to save "ugly" food from going to waste. At Perfectly Imperfect, they believe there is no such thing as perfect food, only tasty food.
Balle Bros Group, one of New Zealand’s foremost integrated agricultural businesses. They have been growing vegetables in and around the Pukekohe region since 1919.
Sarah Balle from Supie, an online supermarket driven to make a real impact on people’s lives and the planet by reducing cost of food to make it more affordable, reducing waste, and giving small producers and brands better access to New Zealand consumers.
Here at EatKinda we’re committed to providing delicious cauliflower plant-based ice cream that is kinder to the planet and our people. To follow along with our journey, make sure you’re following us on socials and subscribe to our email list.