Re-Purposeful Picks

“Waste is only waste if we waste it,” says, activist and founder of the Black Eyed Peas. So we’re turning waste into fresh taste to help fight climate change
By Market Magazine

It’s a sustainability message at the heart of an exciting new project that is radically reducing food waste – by repurposing fruit and veg into delicious new products. It’s been estimated Australians toss out a staggering 7.6 million tonnes of food each year and now Harris Farm Markets has become a trailblazer in tackling this issue with its Re-Purposeful Picks™ initiative – a retail and taste experience not seen anywhere else. So, what’s it all about? New products are created to extend the shelf life of existing food, therefore diverting it from landfill. Think fruit and vegies that are near expiry date and day-old bread, add a little creativity, and voilà – you end up with tasty new products.

Check how the magic happens

Instead of being tossed out, food is given a second life. French baguette wastage becomes tasty garlic bread (a firm fave with customers), while day-old loaves are transformed into various breadcrumbs – white, brown, wholemeal and sourdough. Vegetables and herbs are chopped to produce a mouth-watering salsa verde, and pumpkin, zucchini and feta find their way on top of pizzas. Delicious smoothies are whipped up using banana, berries, mango and fruit salad; fresh berries are turned into frozen berries; kale ends up as yummy, crunchy chips. You get the picture… Other food waste ends up on the Harris family farm to be divided up and given to charities.

How does it work? If today’s perfect banana doesn’t sell we’ll turn it into tomorrow’s delicious smoothie.

The reduction of food waste is enormous

All food waste passes a stringent food safety plan: it is carefully checked, washed and trimmed before finding its way into new products. And what potential. Food waste is currently costing the Australian economy more than $36 billion each year. Out of the 7.6 million tonnes of produce tossed out annually, 70 per cent of this is edible food with the retail sector contributing more than 500,000 tonnes to the total, according to the 2021 National Food Waste Baseline. Food waste is also a big contributor to climate change. Research published in online journal Science shows that 25 per cent of carbon emissions generated from food production comes from wastage.

How we are leading the way

Harris Farm is the frontrunner of this product type in Australia – certainly ahead of its supermarket counterparts. Harris Farm Markets began its commitment to reducing food waste with its Imperfect Picks initiative – introduced in 2014 – demonstrating to customers that even though fruit and veg may have a few bumps and lumps, they’re still just as good on the inside. Re-Purposeful Picks™ is the next step in the journey to change the way Aussies think about food waste and our impact on the planet.

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