It’s no surprise that the U.S. and the world at large have food waste issues while hundreds of millions of people suffer from hunger. Each year, one-third of the food produced in the world is wasted.(1) The amount of food currently being thrown away would feed around 2 billion people.(2) Often, produce that is grown for human consumption is wasted simply because of the way it looks. Fruits and vegetables are rejected by supermarkets because they don’t fit the unrealistic standards that grocers and consumers have for produce. This produce is absolutely safe to consume; these fruits and vegetables are just simply too small, too large, or too ‘misshapen’ to fit the aesthetic criteria set by today's market. According to estimates from The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, cosmetic standards of produce in the food retail industry exclude anywhere from 20 to 40 percent of fresh produce from the market.(3)
There is an opportunity to use this ‘ugly’ produce to create shelf-stable products that families in food insecure areas can have access to at no cost to them.
About RejuvenateRejuvenate is a woman-operated social enterprise that repurposes ‘ugly’ fruits & vegetables (that would have otherwise been thrown away) into shelf-stable products like jams, juices, dried fruits, soups and sauces. Products would be sold through stores, farmers markets, and local food co-ops. Most importantly, revenue generated from these sales would support distribution of these products to low-income communities, food deserts and/or food justice nonprofits that are fighting hunger and providing relief. Families and individuals would receive products at no cost to them. The products would be shelf-stable and would require little, if any, cooking time or preparation.
Rejuvenates aims to redefine unrealistic produce standards, reduce the amount of food that is wasted in the United States, and repurpose these once undesirable goods into socially conscious products that can increase access to healthy food.
1 | Collect
Rejuvenate will buy ‘ugly’ and ‘imperfect’ produce from local farms, wholesalers, and/or grocery stores. Otherwise, this food wouldn’t be sold and would go to waste.
We use the ‘ugly’ fruits & vegetables to make products like jams, juices, dried fruits, sauces, soups, or anything that can be made from fruits and vegetables and turned into a shelf-stable product.
We will sell these products in local food co-ops, grocery stores, and farmers markets that we source the ‘ugly’ fruits & vegetables from initially to achieve a true 0 waste, or cradle to cradle, business model.
4| Distribute to underserved communitiesRejuvenate will use the revenue generated from individuals buying products in stores, farmers markets, and local food co-ops to support our efforts to distribute products to families in underserved communities and food deserts -- at no cost to them. We would also give products to local nonprofits that are working to fight hunger in food insecure areas to help distribute free products to families, food pantries, schools, and through other ways.
Rejuvenate’s vision is to encourage individuals to become involved in their local communities, catalyze change, and increase access to shelf-stable, healthy, nutritious products for underserved communities.
- Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, Food Loss and Food Waste http://www.fao.org/food-loss-and-food-waste/en/
- National Geographic, How Ugly Fruits and Vegetables Can Help Solve World Hunger http://www.nationalgeographic.com/magazine/2016/03/global-food-waste-statistics/
- Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Report- Food Wastage Footprint: Impacts on Natural Resources http://www.fao.org/docrep/018/i3347e/i3347e.pdf
About Me My name is Kaitlin and I am a recent graduate of the University of Pittsburgh. The idea for Rejuvenate came from the University of Pittsburgh’s Enactus Social Innovation Hackathon, and Rejuvenate placed first in the competition. I am excited to continue working on the concept! In August 2016, I became a Social Innovation Fellow with StartingBloc, a fellowship program for social impact change makers focused on learning effective ways to create social and environmental progress. I am passionate about sustainability and using business as a force for good.