Vernon Mascarenhas, Nature’s Choice. In conjunction with Waste Knot.

During our time providing fresh produce to establishments all across London and with a lot of direct contact with farmers, we quickly realised there was a very real problem with waste, both prefarm gate and in the kitchens, with lesser-known produce or simply using the produce from root to flower.

We work closely with Waste Knot who source produce directly from farmers that would otherwise be sent to landfill, left to rot, sent to AD or used for animal feed. The produce is perfectly edible and delicious but doesn’t meet strict, cosmetic criteria which is imposed throughout the standard food distribution channels. We also pass on our experience to chefs in terms of the best ways to use the whole of the product and not just the well-recognised part of it. Successes include beetroot leaves, carrot tops and cauliflower leaves.

Waste Knot have saved 60,000 tons of fresh produce over the last eight months.

In addition, it has enormously heightened awareness surrounding the colossal amounts that are being wasted on a daily basis. Our chefs have realised that the taste certainly isn’t any different and that they are doing their bit for the environment and the economy as Waste Knot’s model works on the farmer being paid for the produce that would otherwise not give any ROI.

Within the restaurant, ultimately it’s the head chef/chef proprietor who needs to be appreciate the importance of why there should be this produce on the menu. The story and implications then need to be fed down to the whole of the team, including front of house, to ensure the message is disseminated all the way to the customer.

Within the market, Waste Knot produce is presently exclusive to Nature’s Choice so any customer of ours can buy it.

We feel that by working together and the wider the reach, the more good we can all do. We would urge other businesses to trace the source of their fresh produce and make sure their sustainability credentials are the best they can possibly be.

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This article is part of a series related to a food waste fighting resource
“Food waste tips from the fronT line”: 

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