Perfectly imperfect: UK snack company 'rescues' unwanted English fruit from food waste fate

By Emma Jane Cash

- Last updated on GMT

Ben Whitehead, founder and fruit enthusiast. © Spare Fruit
Ben Whitehead, founder and fruit enthusiast. © Spare Fruit

Related tags Food waste Apple Fruit

As food waste levels become higher than ever, UK start-up Spare Fruit is saving English apples and pears from ending up in the bin by turning them into healthy snacks.

Spare Fruit, founded by Ben Whitehead, has turned food waste into profit by launching a range of air-dried fruit crisps made out of surplus fruit.

The company has so far “saved​” 12 tonnes of apples and pears, two of the most abundant fruits in England.

Whitehead says the products “raise awareness of food waste in a delicious way amongst businesses and consumers.”

The company was founded after Whitehead started volunteering with FoodCycle, a UK charity that turns surplus food into nutritious meals for people at risk of food poverty and social isolation.

He says the charity helped him to learn more about food waste and inspired him to help.

“I got obsessed with creating products out of food that would otherwise be wasted and discovered Rubies in the Rubble (food surplus pioneers) who were proof that this could work as a viable mission-led business.”

Rubies in the Rubble is a sustainable food brand, making relish out of unwanted fruit and vegetables.

Giving new life to fruit

Spare Fruit uses produce deemed the wrong shape, colour or size to be sold in supermarkets to make its air-dried, low-calorie, 100% fruit snacks.

© Spare Fruit. The snacks are 100% fruit and low in calories.

Around 600,000 tonnes of apples and pears are grown in England, and as it is difficult for farmers to forecast demand and growing conditions, a huge amount goes to waste each year.

By surplus produce from farms, Spare Fruit says it is helping small English farms become more sustainable, both environmentally and financially.

Currently the snacks are only available for purchase in the UK, from online retailers and in-store at select locations, including Selfridges Food Hall and Natural Kitchen, but Whitehead hopes to expand Spare Fruit’s market in the future.

“We are looking to grow so we can establish ourselves long-term as one of the most recognised, genuinely sustainable brands that inspire others. We want to rescue as much beautiful British produce as possible and raise awareness amongst millions of people by creating more delicious and amazing products – there isn’t a better way to showcase the quality of the produce that we waste in this country or to demonstrate the scale of the problem,” ​he said, adding that the company’s growth is dependent on finding the right investors.

Currently, Spare Fruit's range only includes apples and pears due to the amount of each of these fruits being wasted in the UK. However Whitehead says there are possibilities with other fruits and vegetables to join the product list.

"We’re always looking at product development and innovation so we hope to have some exciting developments to reveal in the near future," ​he said.

According to recent reports, 15m tonnes of food are thrown away each year in the UK.

Of this, 4.3m tonnes of house-hold food waste are avoidable, says Wrap, a UK food waste charity.

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1 comment

Spare fruit

Posted by Faith,

What a brilliant idea,and now we have to eat 10 a day.

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