innocent drinks has joined forces with UKHarvest, a food rescue and education charity, to help get more fruit and veg into people’s diets, by tackling food waste and turning surplus fruit, veg and smoothies into nutritious meals.
In the UK, two thirds of adults don’t get their five a day, and nine out of 10 children (11 to 18 year olds) don’t get their recommended fruit and veg intake. innocent drinks is making it its mission to help get more goodness into people’s diets, and the latest partnership with UKHarvest aims to do just that: help inspire people to use up their leftover fruit and veg to make delicious, healthy meals, rather than throwing them away.
With food waste from households and businesses estimated to be around 9.5 million tonnes per year, and as the third biggest contributor to UK greenhouse gas emissions, tackling the scale and complexity of the issue requires collaboration and action. To play a part in the solution, innocent and UKHarvest created the ‘down to the core’ event at The Nourish Hub in west London. Two teams made up of innocent product developers and UKHarvest chefs went head to head in a cook-off, creating a menu from leftover fruit and veg.
The cook-off was experienced by a host of NGOs, fellow B Corps and parliamentary staff, and was designed to share fun, nutritious recipes that can inspire how we can all build more fruit and vegetables into our everyday diets and ensure less of these precious ingredients go to waste. But the cook-off’s aim was also to spark conversation and inspire wider change to reduce surplus food, and share the importance of fruit and veg as part of a healthy balanced diet.
innocent already makes use of ‘wonky’ excess fruit and veg that can’t be sold in the shops – but the company has also taken the initiative to find new uses for its own waste.
Louisa Handley, Nutritionist, innocent drinks, said: ‘We all know that eating fruit and veg is good for you and key to a healthy diet. From the start, innocent’s purpose has remained the same, we want to make it easy for people to do themselves some good, helping get natural, healthy fruit and veg into people’s diets. That is because they are full of important nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, fibre and phytonutrients that all help our bodies do what they do best. UKHarvest is invested in food education and nutrition, so it is the perfect partner for innocent to help inspire the world to waste less and have more fruit and veg daily.’
Emilie Stephenson, innocent’s force for good lead, said: ‘At innocent, we have got three big dreams: healthier people, healthier communities and a healthier planet. We want to make it easy for people to do themselves some good. It starts with the drinks we sell but goes further by looking at new, fun and engaging ways we can get more fruit and veg to people. Events like this help us do just that.’
innocent redistributed more than 1.25 million bottles of smoothies in 2021, preventing them from going to waste and helping to provide valuable portions of fruit and veg for those who need them most.
As well as rescuing and redistributing surplus food and drink to about 350,000 people through its network of over 300 charities, UKHarvest also helps some of the most food insecure communities learn new ways to avoid food waste and eat healthily, delivering education programmes to 11,000 people.
Education is one of the biggest barriers to enacting change on food waste, with many people lacking the necessary skills to put food scraps to good use. With over 70% of all food waste happening at home, this is an area everyone can tackle; for example 4.4 million potatoes are wasted every day in the UK.
Yvonne Thomson, CEO and founder of UKHarvest, said: ‘The education system in the UK is completely different now. People are not in the kitchen, they are not learning the necessary skills to cook without waste and only by educating people can they be empowered to do something themselves. Our ultimate aim is to work ourselves out of a job by educating people on how to cook for less, make less waste and eat sustainably.’