Preventing food waste is certainly one of the main priorities in our operations at Greenyard Fresh Germany. Part of this food waste is difficult to avoid. For example if during quality controls it turns out that the food is not good for consumption, safety of course always comes first. However, there are still a number of situations where we end up with fresh produce that does not meet the stringent requirements of our German retail customers, for a variety of reasons. It may have to do with the calibre – the fruit being too small or too big – or small deficiencies in the colour and appearance of the fruit.
Over the years, we have been able to develop some outlets to re-purpose this type of fruit ourselves. Some of it may go to charity or to fruit-processing companies, however it is quite a challenge to find the right solution for the relatively small batches we have. A juice company, for example, will need a steady stream of incoming products to really make this work.
That is why we have established a partnership with a Berlin-based start-up company that is building a redistribution platform for fresh products. They have access to a large and varied network of companies and organisations that can use the fruit to make for example fruit salads, juices or fruit baskets. In some cases, we are also unpacking or re-packing the fruit ourselves, for example when a net of oranges contains one or two overripe oranges.
After a successful pilot project focused on pineapples and kiwis in November of last year, we established a wider partnership agreement in the beginning of 2022. In a next phase the start-up is planning to build a digital platform, where Greenyard and other companies can offer batches of fruit for sale. This will not only save time and increase efficiency, it will also enable to add a lot of data on the exact type, origin, age and quality of the fruit, which makes it easier to determine the right outlet for each batch that is offered.