We chatted to Ilana Taub, co-founder of Snact, a company using food to drive environmental and social change. Ilana lives in London and is passionate about food sustainability and entrepreneurship. Here’s what she’s got to say.
Michael and I had been wanting to do our own thing for a while. We’re both passionate about food, and we wanted to create a better food system. Food waste is a hugely important issue, so it made sense to join forces and create a clever way to tackle the problem.
At the beginning all we had was this cool idea and a heap of fruit, so to raise money we used a crowdfunding campaign. We met our target in a matter of days, and even then went over it! In the end we had 273 backers. It wasn’t just the funding that was important – the project increased awareness of what we’re doing. It feels incredible knowing that people like what we’re doing and that they’re willing to back us.
There’s so much food wasted before it even gets to our shelves. Tons of fruit is wasted due to imperfections, blemishes or being too ripe for that stage of the supply chain. It’s bonkers. We started by getting fruit surplus from London’s wholesale markets and making it into delicious treats. Now we’re looking for other sources, from farmers directly or distribution companies…
Although we’re still on a relatively small scale, we’re looking to grow bigger, and better. We started by doing everything by hand – from chopping, blending, cutting, packing and so on…so we could only make about 100 Snacts in a day. Now we’re moving on to more professional manufacturing facilities where we can make a lot more! We sell at Lower Marsh market and some at Cornercopia, but soon we’ll launch a direct sales model, and supply more shops and cafes. It’s tricky finding the right stockists, but the search tools on FoodTrade are saving us heaps of time.
When I’m not busy developing the Snact business, I also work for the Food Assembly. They’ve launched in the UK, it’s so exciting! They connect small independent farmers and foodmakers to people directly, so everyone can buy delicious products and food producers are paid a fair price. They’ve got a really solid model in France where they’ve been running for 3 years. I can’t wait for Assemblies to be open in the UK so I can buy local produce from producers directly (and in fact the first one, in Hackney Wick, is opening this week!)
The solution to surplus food waste relies heavily on improving communication and logistics. If all food industry players – from manufacturers, restaurants, and shops to charities and food banks – were talking to each other, we could significantly reduce food waste at the supply chain level. I think democratising the food system is hugely importantly and FoodTrade allows that by connecting these players directly. And it increases transparency, which is also very important.
The future of Snact is more than food waste. Michael and I have both got really cool ideas about what we can do to change our food system for the better, whether that’s related to food waste or not. We just have to make sure that Snact develops into something that can tackle all these issues in an engaging and meaningful way. We want to become a kind of Redbull for good.
Have you got surplus fruit you’d like to offer to Snact? Or perhaps your shop is the perfect outlet for these tasty treats. Let them know!