While food waste happens all across our food system, 43% of all food waste actually happens in our kitchens. While this number can seem scary, we think it’s pretty empowering. That’s why this Earth Month, we’re teaming up with our friends at Abeego to help you fight food waste and waste less in the kitchen. By wasting less food and building a more sustainable food system that nourishes both people and the planet, we can create a positive impact on our food future.
Abeego is on a mission to Keep Food Alive, starting right in your own kitchen. In 2010, Abeego decided to reinvent food wrap inspired by nature’s own peel, rind, and skin. Abeego picks up where the peel leaves off and acts like a skin for the skinless, a peel for the peeled. Food is protected while it breathes in Abeego.
Today we’re sitting down with Toni Desrosiers, founder of Abeego and inventor of beeswax food wrap, to hear more about Abeego, it’s history, and how to get creative and reduce waste in your own kitchen.
Imperfect Produce: Tell us about Abeego! How did it begin?
Toni Desrosiers: Inventing Abeego started as an act of defiance. The drive to disrupt the billion-dollar plastic food wrap industry and revolutionize food wrap started in 2008 when I realized the plastic food wrap I was using looked nothing like the peel nature wrapped my fresh food in. Every peel found in nature protects from light, air and moisture and, most importantly, peels breathe! Still, airtight plastic food wrap had been accepted as the norm in kitchens worldwide.
I decided to invent the food wrap of the future with all natural ingredients with the aim to keep it as convenient as plastic wrap. Through tremendous experimentation and a trust of nature, I developed the world’s first breathable, reusable, beeswax food wrap inspired by nature’s lemon peel.
IP: What is the mission and vision?
TD: Our vision is to Keep Food Alive and our mission is to end food spoilage. At the household level, nearly one-pound of food is wasted per person daily. Fruits and vegetables account for 39% of this food waste. That’s equal to two avocados tossed each day, or about $1200 a year—what else could you be doing with that money – trips, investments, paying off debt?
This isn’t a food waste problem, this is a food storage problem. When you look under that 133 billion pounds of compost generated annually in the United States, there’s a lot of edible food going to waste because of improper storage. This food amounts to the lost potential to feed 67 million Americans. We realized that the solution had to be better food storage, which is why we created Abeego.
We’ve been trained to “lock and seal” in freshness with airtight packaging. However, when we look at nature’s own peel, rind and skin we see that living food needs to breathe while being protected. We’re trying to disrupt normalized food waste and push the boundaries on what is thought of as fresh food and shift the mindset to what keeps food alive.
IP: What is beeswax wrap and why should we be using it?
TD: Abeego Wrap picks up where the peels leaves off. It protects and breathes to mimic nature’s skin, peel and rind. Simply put, fresh food will live longer in Abeego. Airtight plastic doesn’t deserve to get close to your produce. It sweats, suffocates, and turns all its fresh goodness into the smelly food rot your used to finding at the back of your fridge. Leaving your fresh food naked isn’t a good answer either. Naked food like leafy greens will quickly become wilted and lifeless. Abeego offers an ideal environment to Keep Food Alive!
Abeego Wrap is the first beeswax wrap and is made with all natural ingredients: beeswax, tree resin and jojoba oil infused into a hemp and organic cotton cloth.
IP: What are your favorite ways to use Abeego?
TD: Abeego keeps citrus fresh like nobody’s business. A half lemon tucked in the back of my fridge has saved the day for me countless times! I’ve been halfway through making my daughter’s Saturday morning crepes multiple times only to realize I didn’t have a lemon for her traditional lemon and sugar topping. The relief of finding a still-fresh-but-weeks-old lemon in the fridge that saves a trip to the store or a colossal meltdown on a Saturday morning is immeasurable!
Abeego has become known as the ultimate avocado saver and saving a half cut avocado is only part of the story. I love using Abeego to slow my avocados from all ripening at once. I keep them in an Abeego folded bag on the counter and take an avocado out every other day to space the ripening time. This way you never have to binge on guacamole because, let’s face it, overeating to save food from the compost is another form of food waste.
*Pro-tip: this works for all pit fruits. Try it with your peaches this summer.
IP: Besides using Abeego, how else do you reduce food waste in your kitchen?
TD: My family grows an incredible garden that has expanded my palate beyond produce staples found in the grocery store. A favorite spring treat in our kitchen is radish microgreens. I’ve made it a habit to plant my saved radish seeds in extra thick rows. The radish microgreens come up weeks before any other crop, allowing us to eat them as we thin the rows to perfectly spaced radishes.
In our kitchen we live by the first-in first-out rule, buy in small quantities and make a Sunday salad with any produce that hasn’t been put to use during the week.
IP: Favorite piece of produce?
TD: The crisp, sweet, reliable, versatile and never-endingly useful apple is my favorite piece of produce. My love for the apple was solidified last fall after I had the opportunity to harvest and process over 500 pounds of Spartan and Red Delicious apples from a neighborhood tree. We spent days making all things apple: pie filling, sauce, butter, juice, leather, chips and cider that have carried us through fruitless winter days. It was an incredible effort and worth it down to the last apple.
Starting on Earth Day, we’ll be giving out a special “Golden Ticket” Abeegos to lucky customers. Keep an eye on your box starting April 22nd!