We just celebrated National Day this month and what better way to commemorate the Singapore spirit than to showcase some of our local initiatives and inventions!
Here are three cool local startups which have successfully converted food waste into something of greater value for Singapore and Singaporeans.
- Crust (@crustsingapore)
Year established: 2019
Crust’s cofounder Travin Singh observed the perennial phenomenon of excess bread being left over at bakeries and hotels and found out that bread was actually preserved in ancient times to make beer. Its team then tried to create a local craft pale ale brand from such bread, which otherwise would have been wasted.
How it works?
Crust informs partners of the bread they need for their brewing, and they collect it from bakeries, hotels and online grocer RedMart. Sugars are extracted from the bread which replaces malt and barley to brew the alcohol, which is then left for fermentation for 2 weeks. Thereafter, the product is bottled and packaged and sold to consumers through their website and stockists.
Crust also collaborates with F&B brands on unique flavours. For instance, it partnered Tiong Bahru Bakery with their excess breads and produced a baguette-flavoured craft beer.
2. UglyGood/SimplyGood (@thesimplygood)
Year established: 2017
Cleantech startup UglyGood noticed that only 40% of fruits were used for extraction for juices and the majority of fruit pulp and peels was wasted. The team comprising Jeremy Lee and Clewyn Puah then approached local research institutions and collaborated with them to valorise such fruit waste into natural cleaning agents.
How is it done?
UglyGood collects fruit waste from various juice kitchens and manufacturers, and then the peels are left to ferment in the lab before adding scents and using biotechnology to convert them into enzyme cleaners. After packaging, these cleaning agents are then sold primarily to businesses which will use them in large quantities.
To meet the needs during the COVID-19 pandemic, UglyGood recently created another line of products called SimplyGood, where they make food grade sanitisers! You can spray them on food utensils and packaging and gone will be the virus.
They have also released an innovative product in cleaning tablets to reduce plastic packaging waste, a common issue faced in cleaning products. All you need to do is to dissolve the tablet in water to make up your ‘detergent’, and you’ll be able to start cleaning your surfaces like you usually do!
3. UglyFood (@uglyfoodco)
Year established: 2017
How could we forget mentioning our existing produce partner UglyFood? Not to be confused with UglyGood above which deals with cleaning products, UglyFood uses excess or blemished produce like fruits and vegetables and converts them into yummy food products like juices, popsicles and smoothies!
How is it done?
UglyFood sources for excess or blemished produce from various grocers, fruit importers and suppliers. They then use these ingredients and make them into new products which will have a longer shelf life. These include their Beautiful Juices and Uplift Sorbets.
You can purchase their upcycled products at their retail shop at SUTD (Upper Changi), or through various online channels that they are found on.
BONUS: Suskin & Shellophane Sheets
More and more ideas from valorising and upcycling food waste into new products have emerged of late in Singapore.
Earlier this year, two Republic Polytechnic students won the top prize in a Samsung innovation challenge and successfully created a leather-alternative material from food waste. They were inspired after reading about the environmental impact of the leather industry and wanted to create a material converted from food waste via bio-material engineering.
In August, we also attended a student business plan competition organised by Raffles Institution (Junior College) which centered on solving the problem of food wastage. The top team, Team Food Loops from Raffles Girls School, mooted the idea of extracting chitin from seafood waste and turning it into a light sheet, plastic-alternative material. The “Shellophane Sheets” could then be used by the seafood merchants in a circular economy model, and tackle both food and plastic wastage.
Amazing, isn’t it? Much to look forward too in the coming years from our new crop of local inventors and entrepreneurs!