Food reject snack business eyes new product development with seed funds
The company makes a range of fruit jerky from products which would be otherwise rejected at the harvesting stage for not conforming to supermarkets’ cosmetic standards. For instance, fruit which is the wrong size or shape.
The closure of its undisclosed investment – through impact investment group ClearlySo – will allow the company to develop new snacks based on food rejects, including more fruit-based treats and potentially a vegetable product, the founders told FoodNavigator.
“The obvious one to go for after fruit is vegetables,” said co-founder Ilana Taub. “We’re working on flavour extensions of the current range with fruit jerky.”
Snact’s formula for product development is to identify where there is surplus food in the system going to waste which is good quality and has good nutritional value, fellow co-founder Michael Midge-Dixon added.
“Across almost every type of food category there is surplus and waste, so our formula is to identify those sources of waste and couple that with trends in the food sector,” he said.
“It’s positive because it tackles food waste but intrinsically there is demand for it. With food jerky people want to move away from biscuits and chocolate and have healthier snacks.”
As the business grows, it can look more broadly at other food waste such as bread and grains, Midge-Dixon added.
The money will also go towards marketing Snact products in the highly competitive landscape that is snacking, Taub added.
Snact launched in late 2015 and has since saved between 40 – 50 tonnes of food from being binned.
Distributors are now growing and include contract caterers providing for large offices and universities and retailers, including its biggest partner Ocado, Midge-Dixon said. Sales are now growing month on month, he added.
When asked about partnering plans for further distributors over the next 12 to 18 months, Taub said: “We’d like to get a big retailer on board. A lot of them in the UK are talking about food waste so it would be good to try and do something with one of them.”
However, both founders stressed that the idea for distributors is quality over quantity, adding it is important to find partners which see the value in the Snact enterprise.
“The United Nations Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) estimates that one third of all food produced globally is wasted, which has huge economic, social and environmental implications,” the company notes in its seed funding press statement.
“The UK alone bins £12.5 billion worth of food every year, including over 500 million bananas and 1.6 billion apples.”
The news follows a range of European initiatives to cut down food waste, including a new Italian law allowing businesses to donate unsold food to charity.
The UK’s version – the Food Reduction Bill – was scrapped after getting to the last stage of law-making before a final royal ascent.