Did you know that in the UK around 40-60% of a farmer’s crop is discarded due to size, shape and various other reasons?
The global sustainability crisis is a real issue. This is the age of the climate crisis, greenhouse gases, water scarcity, discarded plastic in the oceans, food waste and the list goes on. The world is slowly realising the extent to which our practices are unsustainable and damaging, from energy sources to water usage habits and food production chains.
The good news is that this has led to an engaged generation that actively wants to make a difference and is willing to revolutionise the way we live to preserve the planet. The most forward-thinking minds of our time are putting their talents to good use, coming up with creative business ideas that have the potential to halt the environmental crisis in several fronts, such as electric vehicles, renewable energy technologies and alternative fuel sources.
One such idea came from Jenny Costa, Founder of Rubies in the Rubble, who made it her mission to reduce food waste with a very original business plan. Rubies in the Rubble is a company that makes delicious condiments out of fruit and vegetables that would otherwise have been discarded due to their appearance “as a way to raise awareness around the need to value our whole food supply chain,” Jenny tells us in an exclusive interview.
“I became so passionate about the need to raise awareness around the issue that food is a precious resource that we should cherish,” says Jenny, “so I realised that I can create great-tasting products and try to prevent food waste.”
The figures behind food waste that inspired Jenny’s business idea are quite staggering. Whereas many might think that the main culprit behind food waste is when people discard food at home, a huge part of food is wasted before it even makes it to the supermarket shelves – it’s an issue that permeates the entire food supply chain, from production to consumption.
“Globally we throw away a third of what we produce. In the UK, around 40-60% of a farmer’s crop is discarded every year, normally due to appearance or supply and demand issues,” says Jenny. Around the world, the value of wasted food is around $1 trillion, and the European Commission estimates that around 90 million tonnes of food are wasted all along the supply chain in the EU, which is around 180kg of food per person. In addition, world hunger is still very much an issue, where nearly 800 million people around the world are malnourished.
I became so passionate about the need to raise awareness around the issue that food is a precious resource that we should cherish...
- Jenny Costa, founder of “Rubies in the Rubble”
The economic and social proportions of the problem certainly mean that the more people who make a conscious decision toward sustainability, the better. “A generation is bubbling up that is concerned about the sustainability of our planet,” says Jenny. In terms of sustainable practices, “there are so many things that we can do, like buying locally, using the most natural produce possible and looking at plant-based alternatives for products which would normally be meat-based.”
In addition, a major way to make a difference is to apply this mindset to professional and entrepreneurial ideas. Jenny encourages everyone to make the best out of their resourcefulness, creativity and entrepreneurial spirit to create businesses that can help save the planet.
If you want to be part of the movement of change and create the world you want to live in, have a look at how you can shape the future of the agricultural industry with GISMA’s MSc International Agribusiness. This Master’s programme is FIBAA accredited and delivered in Hannover, close to the agriculture cluster. Enquire now for more information.