April 2023

Have you ever reached for the milk to find it’s gone sour, or forgotten about leftovers in the fridge and had them go bad? Or have you simply hated the Brussel sprouts that were put on your plate and thrown them out? If so, you're not alone. Globally, we waste a staggering amount of food every year; and even worse, a lot of food wasted is still good to eat. Why Should You Care? According to Barclays, the equivalent of six garbage trucks full of perfectly good food are going to waste every second. This costs the world economy about $1 trillion annually and is set to rise. That's like throwing away a whole meal for every person on the planet every day. And while we toss all this food away, more than 10% of the world's population is going hungry. It's hard to wrap your head around that kind of waste, especially when so many people are starving. So food waste is a moral and economic issue. Recent research by Hannah Ritchie and Max Roser (2022) found that half the world’s habitable land and 70% of global fresh water is used for agriculture. It is estimated that 40% of food in the United States goes to waste. And the US Environmental Protection Authority says the annual water and energy used on wasted food is enough to supply 50 million homes. With rising grocery bills, the cost of food waste quickly adds up. If you throw away food that could still be eaten, it's like walking over to the garbage to regularly throw in your money. Where Does It Go? When food is thrown away, it often ends up in landfills. As it decomposes, it produces methane. Methane is a greenhouse gas about 25 times more potent than carbon dioxide in terms of its global warming potential. So it is bad for the environment. The United Nations says that if global food waste was a country, it would be the third largest greenhouse gas emitter. nibs etc. Upcyling To Fight Waste It was these kind of shocking statistics that inspired socially conscious food entrepreneurs like Chloë Stewart. Chloë runs an award winning company in London called nibs etc. that makes delicious and nutritious upcycled snacks from high fiber and leftover byproducts that normally get thrown away. While a passion for food had always been there, the tipping point came working as a volunteer on an organic farm in Italy. Part of her work there included cooking. “What really inspired me was was being reminded that people living from the land literally can't afford to waste anything. Not wasting food was just a normal way of life. It wasn't a trend. It wasn't because of a ‘zero waste’ hashtag.” Once back home Chloë wanted a creative outlet, so she started a food blog about upcycling leftovers and no-waste recipes. “A lot of it was from not wanting to spend money, and also being too lazy to go to the shops. But, then I realized I loved the creativity of making delicious things from what others would see as food scraps.” Chloë wanted to promote a ‘Circular Economy’ approach. The idea behind a ‘Circular Economy’ is that every part of a supply chain can be used as a resource for the next step. This is similar to how things work in nature, where nothing is considered waste because everything is always being used by something else. By doing this, we can keep using resources for a very long time. Then Chloë became friends with a juicer. “I experimented creating recipes using pulp. I thought it would make for interesting content for the blog.” As people learned about and became more interested in zero waste cooking, they asked her to cater events and highlight her upcycled food approach. “I basically said yes to everything and was quickly exhausted. Logistically, it was challenging. But, I realized that I could scale my environmental impact by focusing on developing retail products. Chloë created nibs etc. which is a business using leftover apple pulp as an important high fiber ingredient. 40% of food is wasted in the USA. A lot goes into landfills to rot. FOOD WASTE Why it’s a big deal