Feedback Global is a charity that is engaged in several activities with a common goal: to minimize the negative impact that the food system has on the environment.
To do this, they focus on raising awareness about the wasteful and high-impact practices used by the food industry to produce our meals. Practices that are in part responsible for the deforestation, drainage of freshwater reserves and depletion of soils, and account for more than a quarter of our global greenhouse gas emissions.
With this aim in mind, Feedback Global carries out different actions, from collecting fruits and vegetables on farms with the help of volunteers to raising awareness and organising fundraising events for its campaigns and training programmes for young people.
One of Feedback’s projects is Sussex Surplus, which processes food into soups from vegetables that would be wasted due to their appearance or because they were overproduced.
In addition, Sussex Surplus seeks to create paid entry-level positions for young people who face barriers to accessing employment due to neurodiversity.
Problem: finding techniques to extend the shelf life of food surpluses or waste
The nature of Feedback led their team to look for viable options for those fruits and vegetables that were not harvested on farms or surplus in the supply chain. The alternative for which they opted was the elaboration of different recipes for their later packaging. They decided to try squash and zucchini, ingredients that are often used to make creams, purees and soups, both at home and in restaurants.
They tested different recipes with these products and discovered that the creams were a reliable product to make in a standardized way and that, in addition, it might not require refrigeration for distribution. Sussex Surplus developed recipes using the Terra Food Tech Autoclave which provided a long shelf-life product that tastes great and reduces food waste.
Challenge: production of canned creams
The idea was already conceived, they knew what they wanted and in November 2020 they started Sussex Surplus. The truth is that it was not the best moment because it coincided with the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic in the United Kingdom. This required the implementation of greater health and safety measures to protect his team. Additionally, the Brexit process ended in early 2021, and cargo routes to and from the UK were disrupted, delaying the delivery of the TERRA Food-Tech® autoclave.
“It has been difficult to establish a project during a pandemic, however, having strong partners like TERRA Food-Tech® has made the difference to get us going.”Phil Holtam, Sussex Surplus Co-Fuounder
Despite all the obstacles put in the middle of their path, FeedBack continued with its purpose and its project. Once the autoclave was installed, another stage began with posed other challenges that had to be overcome. The main one was getting to know the correct Fo and Po values, the correct time and temperature of the sterilization cycle to ensure that their vegetable creams were sufficiently preserved and tasty.
Solution: determine the time and temperature parameters to sterilize your preserves
To determine the appropriate cycle time, they conducted various tests with the guidance and support of the TERRA Food-Tech® technical team. The thermometer probe was a crucial element in collecting the data necessary to know at what temperature it had been kept and for how long.
“The autoclave has been essential to sterilize our creams, we literally could not make them without it.”Phil Holtam, Sussex Surplus Co-Fuounder
Also essential was the advice and support of TERRA Food-Tech®, its technicians were at the disposal of FeedBack at all times. Despite the restrictions imposed by the pandemic, both parties were able to communicate and interact seamlessly thanks to nowadays digital technology, through emails, phone calls and video conferences.
“5 stars! The customer service experience provided by TERRA Food-Tech® was first class throughout the different Project stages. They responded quickly to our emails, were available for numerous video conferences, and had a positive, collaborative and helpful attitude in all our interactions.”Phil Holtam, Sussex Surplus Co-Fuounder