Salt & Straw’s June Ice Cream flavors will be created from food that would end up in the trash, to bring attention to the good, yet wasted food.
Trending on FastCompany, a piece written by Eillie Anzilotti: “This Ice Cream Is Made From Food Waste (It’s Delicious)”.
“We were really struck by the idea that we waste 40% of our food in the United States, and that children in our cities are going hungry,” Kim Malek, who founded Salt & Straw in 2011, tells Fast Company. “If we were able to use that food, we could wipe out hunger.” There are people, she adds, who are doing that work: For Salt & Straw’s June series, the ice cream company is working closely with organizations like Urban Gleaners and the Portland Fruit Tree Project, which rescue and redistribute potentially wasted food among communities in need.
“We thought: What if we use our menu in June to shine a light on those agencies and tell their story, and see if we can get our customers and the community at large to be more aware of and supportive of these organizations and the work that they’re doing,” Kim says.
Around one-third of the food produced in the world for human consumption–about 1.3 billion tons–is lost or wasted each year. An independent, small-batch ice cream chain, says Tyler Malek, is not going to make a huge dent in that total; he estimates that June series will save around 2,000 pounds of food. But volume, he adds, isn’t the whole picture. “What we’re doing is we’re working with a lot of companies and trying to prove that there’s a viable supply chain here,” Tyler says. “For instance, we’ll be paying fair market value for say, strawberries that a farmer was going to throw away because they were too ripe. That’s actually perfect for us–we’re going to freeze them anyway. We’re trying to prove that this food can be used, and tell our customers that it’s possible to make something incredible and fun out of something that was going to be wasted.”
In the summer months, each of Salt & Straw’s shops is staffed by around 30 people, who are trained extensively in how to explain the origins and thought process behind each flavor; detailed descriptions of the seasonal flavors are also printed on in-store menus and on the website. (The Maleks are in the ice-cream business, but they’re also storytellers; Tyler’s process of dreaming up new flavors begins with conversations with the organizations and people he’s working with. It’s a matter of turning a narrative and a message into ice cream, he says, not the other way around.) On warm days, around 100 people file through each shop every hour. “Our hope is that the collective power of our customers getting to learn about rescued food and the organizations working in this space will translate into support and awareness,” Kim says.
Though the rescued food series is limited to the month of June, Tyler and Kim see the partnerships they’ve formed through the process of developing these flavors reverberating throughout their work going forward. Tyler is in talks with the Portland Fruit Tree Project, which works with houses that grow fruit but don’t harvest it, about an ongoing collaboration; the organization is also selling to cider makers. “There’s money to be made in rescuing food; that’s the proof of concept,” Tyler says.
Source: FastCompany. Read full article here.