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A Better Use For All The Fruit Going To Waste: Fruit Jerky

It’s like Fruit Roll-Ups for a good cause.

A lot of food goes to waste not because it’s rotten or dangerous to human health, but because of some lower-order problem. Many times, produce gets thrown away for aesthetic issues, like a crooked carrot or a bruised peach or a spotted banana. The thing is, it’s all perfectly edible–you just have get there in time to either cook it or preserve it.

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One idea: fruit jerky.

Two friends from London were casting around for food business ideas when they realized how much great food is available at cheap prices, or even for free. They started experimenting with making jerky–basically dried out fruit juice–and, a few months later, they have a flourishing startup. The company, Snact, just raised over $20,000 through a crowdfunding campaign.

“We realized how much food waste there is and that so much of it is perfectly edible,” says Ilana Taub, one half of the duo. “Eventually we came to the concept of fruit jerky, which turns out to be a great way of using fruit that’s going to be thrown away.”

The jerky is like a Fruit Roll-Up, but without the heavy, extra ingredients. It’s basically fruit juice that’s mixed together and then spread onto sheet for drying in a dehydrator. The process takes about eight hours and produces a product that can last about six months with no preservatives.

Taub and partner Michael Minch-Dixon are now ramping up their manufacturing and introducing better marketing. Taub says there’s a need to explain the product before people are willing to buy. “A lot of people think it’s beef jerky and they say, ‘Oh, I don’t eat meat,'” she says.

In big picture terms, there are more consequential ways of preventing food waste–like investing in better storage and transport in the developing world–but there’s plenty we can do at the consumer end as well. Why not jerky?

About the author

Ben Schiller is a New York staff writer for Fast Company. Previously, he edited a European management magazine and was a reporter in San Francisco, Prague, and Brussels.

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