Like so many things, it’s not what’s on the outside, it’s what’s on the inside that counts. It’s a saying that rings true for Hawke’s Bay-based beverage company, Simply Squeezed.
They blend and squeeze “ugly” fruit with “pretty” fruit to create great-tasting juices and smoothies, and save more than 4,000 tonnes of fruit – that’s packed full of goodness but not so appealing to the eyes – going to landfill.
Simply Squeezed has been using ugly fruit to create their beverages since the company’s inception in the early 90s, as a way to reduce waste from going to landfill and turn it into something delicious.
Ugly fruit has the same taste as pretty fruit – or those found mainly on supermarket shelves. The only difference between the two is that ugly fruit may not have the colour, size or reflect the shape supermarkets and stalls are after.
Fruit we term “ugly” looks a little bit different: it’s usually too big, small, a funny shape or the wrong colour for export or market. And sometimes it could just be that the orchard does not have a market for it, explains Simply Squeezed sourcing specialist Jonathan Crawley.
“Sure, the ugly fruit may come in looking a little different, but the taste and quality that’s squeezed out of them isn’t compromised.
“The kind of ugly fruit we incorporate into our beverages includes navel oranges, mandarin, tangelos and all sorts of varieties of apples from around Hawke’s Bay and the East Coast. The amount we get very much depends on the time of year, season or weather events.”
Simply Squeezed blending team leader, James Calder says “ugly” fruit is not processed differently.
“If it is too big, small or unable to be juiced it will be graded out to avoid blocking the juicing equipment, and added to the pile that goes for stock food.
“But of course, if a fruit isn’t up to the quality standard and taste our customers expect from us, then we send it to our food stock or suppliers to distribute it to other businesses.”
Even after the fruit has been squeezed and pulped, there’s still approximately 20% to 40% of it left over. So to ensure as much of the fruit is used as possible, Simply Squeezed has established relationships with distributors who on-sell the peel and other edible remnants to other food suppliers.
It’s another great way to reduce waste going to landfill and improve the company’s environmental footprint, says Simply Squeezed Senior Product Developer Kirin Harrison.
“We’re now working on ways to extract nutrients from the left over by-products flavourings, oils, colourings and fibres.”