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Nominated for environmental award

Sweden: Rescued Fruits turns waste into premium juice

ICA, along with their business partner for the program Rescued Fruits, has been made finalist for the Nordic Council Environment Prize for coming up with an idea to turn their leftover fruits from their stores and warehouses into a premium juice.

"In late 2015 I was approached with a business idea all about rescuing fruit, not from the grower's side, but from the retailer. I fell in love with the business idea about rescuing fruits from the supply chain. Our business partner for this project was thinking about all of the energy needed to grow and then transport products from all over the world to retailers and wanted to come up with a solution in order to solve this issue. She asked us how much waste we had in our warehouses. Before being approached we were viewing our waste from a business standpoint and felt that it wasn't that much at the time, only 1.2%, until we realised that this was the same volume needed to produce 11,000 bottles of juice." shared
Peter Hägg from ICA.

Since its launch in the spring of 2016, 33,466 kg of fruit has been saved from ICA's stores, adding up to 54,336 bottles of juice.

Up till now, ICA has been selling premium apple juice under the Rescued Fruit label, although the company is planning on launching a new pear and lemon juice at the end of this month. Since the juice is made from whichever apples are available, the flavour of the juice depends on the variety, so no batch tastes the same. Each batch is tasted and depending on the flavour, is kept in its pure form, or offered with cinnamon, ginger or lemon added to enhance the flavour.

"The juices give us another option in the supply chain. When a truckload comes and the quality is not very good, instead of sending them back to the supplier or sorting the good apples from the bad, both of which cost a lot of money, we can send it directly to our partner to make juice. We send the apples on without buying them ourselves and then buy the juice back once it has been produced."

Rescued Fruits are a premium product because of the nature of how it is produced. It is not like a regular venture where there is a steady flow of fruits going to the juice producer. Also, a lot of handling is necessary before the juice is prepared, by sorting out rotten apples and removing the stickers which are virtually on all of the apples. However, Peter said that the consumers seem to be more than happy to pay a little bit more because they believe in the idea behind the project.

"It means a lot that our cooperation with Rescued Fruits has been recognised by the Nordic Council. We are very proud of these products, which is an example of resource-efficient food production. The product has also been well received by customers and we continuously look at how we can develop ourselves to make it easier for our customers to make sustainable choices."

For more information:
Peter Hägg
Tel: +46 (0)10 422 5252
Email: [email protected]