What is Capuli Club doing about food waste?
By Gabriela Alban Hidalgo / 13.08.2019
Why we use Imperfect Fruits?
To save the world and keep ourselves, we have to start caring. We have to begin with the realization that we are who we are because of who we all are. We have to internalize that our lives and happiness are affected by our inward self as well as by the communities, environment, and people that surround us.
I believe that today, many of us have lost that sense of “we”. We are overly preoccupied with our fast lifestyles, which seem to always prioritize quick and maximal results. Without the time or the habit to sit and care we have become isolated, we hardly have time to take care of ourselves and investing in the care of our life-garden rarely makes sense.
However, I have hope, and I believe that we are not bad people for not caring. When was the last time you heard of someone genuinely caring about something they knew nothing of?
I think that this points us to a solution for shifting towards a culture that genuinely understands empathy. I would say that the best way to begin caring is to learn, and as any good teacher knows, deep learning can only come from internal motivation. Aha, so where can this motivation come from? I would say that it can come from developing a habit of curiosity. A renewed sense of curiosity for the person who is sitting before us or the strawberry we hold in our hands could not only motivate us to learn, but it could even inspire us to love.
The Problem of Food Waste
It is widely known that 60 million tons, or $160 billion worth, of fruits and vegetables, are thrown away in the United States every year (1). Those might seem like large numbers, and in context they become even more alarming. An average American family of 4 throws away $1,600 a year in produce while 1 in 6 Americans face hunger.(2) Poor nutrition around the world causes nearly half (45%) of deaths of children under five, meaning a staggering 3.1 million children. According to the World Food Program $3.2 billion is needed per year to reach all 66 million hungry school-age children. These numbers mean that the food waste in USA could cover the food deficiency of children around the world 50X a year. (3)
The disposal of food costs the USA about 30 million acres of cropland ( about the land area of Pennsylvania), 4.2 Trillion gallons of water and nearly 2 billion pounds of fertilizer, most of it significantly impacting the runoff water systems(4).
While many scientists, activists, artists, and entrepreneurs have been working hard to address this issue of food waste, it is still hurting us. It is destroying our economies, our environment, our culture, and our habits. Even while big, venture-backed businesses such as the Daily Harvest and Imperfect Produce are out there looking to do their part in solving the issue, the problem only seems to keep growing, and it is predicted to increase by 33% within the next ten years(5).
Where is the Solution?
As Dana Gunders, a food-waste expert from the Natural Resource Defense Council explains, food waste is the result of inefficiencies in every part of the food supply chain and consumption ecosystem (6).
In terms of the policy, significant legislation has passed to cut down food waste. For example, many states now look to incentivize food donation to hungry people and the US Department of agriculture has also issued- standardized food date labels, which are a major source of consumer confusion and waste.
In terms of industry, businesses at all stages have made commitments to reduce food waste, and in fact, in a significant consortium of 400 retailers and manufacturers have committed to cut down food waster by 2525.
However, the largest source of food waste is still consumers (people) in their homes. We waste more than restaurants, grocery stores, or any single part of the supply chain. While in 2016 a poll by the add council revealed that 74% perfect of respondents believe that food waste is an important issue the problem persists (7).
Honestly, when I first read through this data I felt a bit annoyed, part of me wanted to blame others for the fact that so much food is wasted. However, when I took a minute to look inwards, I have to admit that I recognized these same inconsistencies in myself.
Trust me, I know that throwing away food is wrong; however, at times, I still find myself mindlessly throwing away those slightly bruised strawberries.
When I started thinking about where this behavior came from, I realized that much of it was my response to the overabundance of food. When I shop at large produce retailers such as Costco and stumble upon the pounds upon pounds of boxed strawberries, I walk away with the reassurance that there is PLENTY of available food. The sense of “too much” makes it difficult for me to care.
When I get home with my Costco strawberries, I take them out of the bag and throw them in the fridge without any second thought. I might even forget that they are there. Within a couple of days, I remember that I intended to make a strawberry smoothie. I open the clamshell only to find that half of the strawberries are now bruised. Without giving it a second through I roughly pick them and toss them out.
On the other hand, When I wake up on an early Sunday morning and make it to the local farmer’s market. I get to talk to the farmer who just drove for two hours that morning to make it there. I politely smile and delicately grab my average sized strawberry case. They are slightly smaller than the “usual,” but they are fragrant and delicious. I make it home, and I don’t forget about my strawberries. I gently take them out of their case, and I take a second to think about the time it took for the strawberry plant to become a robust strawberry bush. I take a second and think of how the strawberry I am holding in my hand took months of water to develop into a wholesome fruit.
My curiosity inspires a sense of gratitude for the beautiful miracle of the strawberry. When I notice some gentle bruises of the rest of my berries, I take the time to carve out the bruised parts, and I profoundly enjoy every bite.
What is Capuli Doing About Food Waste?
While we are full of optimism that one day the entire world will enjoy our Sips & Treats and in that way, we will be dehydrating millions of tons of imperfect fruits and substantially impacting the food supply chain we want to start impacting now.
We want to start impacting each person that comes into contact with our Sips & Treats. We not only want to bring a bit of health, joy, and beauty to their lives, but we want people to start caring.
We believe that the best way to make people care is not by bombarding them with facts and data, but by sharing powerful experiences that remain.
We believe that we are people of ideas, big hearts, powerful imagination, and wonderful dreams.
By choosing to celebrate the misfit, imperfect fruits we decide to care, we choose to share a message that we think the world needs to hear. We choose to side with the natural; we choose to side with the imperfect, we choose to inspire, and we choose to build a community capable of empathizing with the surrounding world.
When we celebrate with beauty those mindful food encounters we want people to be filled with wonder.
Our drinks are mindful drinks; they are soothing, relaxing, perfect to share a small moment with a loved one. Perfect to set the stage for an inspiring conversation. Our Sips & Treats are designed to invite you to slow down and simply be. Our hope is that, through our content and products, you can look at a strawberry again, and profoundly appreciate all that brought the strawberry to be.
If you have any comments or if you feel inspired and want to collaborate with us and what we are building please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I would love to hear from you!