A major British fruit supplier and a craft spirits producer have teamed up to find a way to prevent an estimated 166 million surplus supermarket grapes from going to waste every year. The grapes will be turned into gin.
Tesco is among the larger UK supermarkets and manufacturers to have signed up to efforts to drive down the UK’s annual £20bn food waste bill by committing to halving waste from “farm to fork” by 2030. The new Hyke gin – the first in the UK to be made from grapes grown to be eaten fresh –will go on sale at 300 Tesco branches later this month.
Every year fruit supplier and importer Richard Hochfeld, based in Kent, loses the equivalent of 1.4m punnets of grapes in the transportation and packing process. Among the bunches of black and green grapes that arrive in the UK from South America and South Africa are loose ones and those that are damaged, wrinkled or fail to meet supermarket specifications because they are the wrong shape or size.
Total wastage of these “table” grapes (as opposed to those grown to make wine) is estimated at about 2-3% per annum, meaning a large volume of rejected fruit is not being eaten. To use the grapes, the company has linked up with the West Sussex-based distiller Foxhole Spirits and Tesco.