By Nudge Sustainability Reporter Mirjana Uzelac Filipendin
Some of the most severe problems of the modern world today are food and water. We have disproportional levels of production, distribution, consumption and disposal of food. In 2012 it was estimated that astonishing 925 million of the world's population is suffering from hunger. According to several studies from the UK around 30-50% of food is wasted before it ever reaches the tables. Therefore, consumerism and a culture of disposability contribute to wasted food in wealthy parts of the world while in less developing nations the problem lies with issues like inefficient harvesting techniques and shipping practices.
A group of Rotterdam based students of Design gathered to produce a possible scenario that will solve the food waste problem and make new material for the modern society. They turned some of the daily 3,500 kilos of rotten or other unsellable fruits and vegetables from Rotterdam's outdoor markets and transformed them from trash into Fruitleather! This material can be used in many different ways, creating a variety of products, such as design bags, that show the quality and possibilities that Fruitleather has to offer.
The students from Willem de Kooning Academy described that the material is different from the animal leather. It is an alternative, sustainable option and animal-friendly upholstery. It has a different texture and color depending on the type of fruit that was used to produce it. However, by all means the project contributes to more awareness about food waste and shows how we can make use of all those tons of food that never gets eaten.
Creators: “The food isn’t trash, you just need to find a different purpose for the resisting material. We used our design background to come up with a solution. We found the solution in gastronomy! Chefs use different techniques to create wonderful flavor experiences with fruits and vegetables using them to garnish their plates. One of those techniques is to mash, cook and then dry fruits to make them into a candy-like piece of fruit, called Fruitleather”.
The authors have already participated in several exhibitions and they are planning to upgrade their material. By increasing the technical abilities of the material as well as the wide range of products that can be made with Fruitleather. The designers hope that it will push the industries towards more sustainable options. They already got the attention from several investors.
Therefore, instead of yearly wasting an astonishing 222 million tons of food in developing countries, we can lower down the costs of food disposal (that are estimated to be worth about 1 billion US dollars per year) and we can do something smart with the waste. This means that we can change the statistics which show that in a single year 95-115 kg of food is wasted per capita in Europe and North America. Just imagine the amount of handy design bags, pieces of clothing or even car seats that can be made with this Fruitleather.
Watch the video about Fruitleather here