As individuals and companies seek ways to control food waste and reduce their overall environmental impact, the creative juices are flowing into ideas of ways to use up unwanted produce.
Now a Dutch company is giving a second life to leftover apples and pears and pieces of fruit deemed unfit or too ugly for supermarkets by turning them into a chemical-free and calorie-free sweetener, in welcome news to those looking for healthy and environmentally friendly alternatives to cane sugar.
Fooditive, founded by food scientist Moayad Abushokhedim, aims to be a natural alternative to other sweetener options including sucralose and aspartame (found in brands like Splenda and Equal), which aren’t absorbed by our bodies nor completely removed by wastewater treatment plans, meaning these sweeteners can end up in rivers and oceans, potentially harming aquatic life.
Fooditive takes the apples and pears that can’t be sold in supermarkets due to brown spots or off colours and extracts the natural fructose through a fermentation process, resulting in a calorie-free sweetener without many of the drawbacks of sugar and other sugar substitutes.
According to Abushokhedim, Fooditive’s mission is to “develop food additives that contribute to a healthier body and a healthier environment,” with sustainability at its core.
The company is currently developing a range of other products in food ingredients, the specifics of which will be revealed later this year.
The sweetener complies with EU organic standards, which has led to Fooditive being awarded the Skal certification, meaning it can also produce an organic sweetener next to its regular one.
In 2019, Fooditive have partnered with sustainable third-party production company Bodec, allowing the zero-calorie sweetener to reach consumers through products in Dutch supermarkets.
It is not just the Netherlands that is interested in Fooditive; Sweden also wants to pear up. In October 2019, €100,065.63 was raised to set up the now-registered branch in Stockholm. Future plans include expanding to the UK and Jordan. By starting production in these countries, Fooditive aims to reduce its carbon footprint and contribute to an all-round better future.