Espigoladors Foundation is a non-profit organization founded in 2014 that tackles three social needs at the same time: fighting for the reusal of food, guaranteeing the right to access to healthy food and creating job opportunities for groups at risk of social exclusion .
Based on this premise, the Espigoladors Foundation created es im-perfect ®, the first brand in Spain that produces and markets creams, jams, spreads, pates and sauces from surpluses or fruits and vegetables discarded for aesthetic reasons.
es im-perfect® products are made in its own workshop located in Sant Cosme, one of the most vulnerable neighborhoods in the city of El Prat de Llobregat (Barcelona). The workshop is, at the same time, a space of innovation for food reuse and a place of social insertion for people from the neighborhood and the municipality.
“The world of preserves will always be a business opportunity, since they have a long shelf life, are stored at room temperature, maintain their nutritional properties and can be distributed to many sectors of society.”Mireia Barba, president of the Espigoladors Foundation
Problem: reusal of surpluses or fruits and vegetables discarded for aesthetic reasons
Every year, much of the food produced in the world is lost or wasted. A part of these losses occurs in the post-harvest and processing stages, which is where fruits and vegetables that do not comply with the aesthetic canons required by the regulations and demanded by the market are rejected. es im-perfect® uses fruits and vegetables that are in optimal condition for human consumption, but due to their lack of aesthetic perfection or even ugliness, in accordance with current beauty standards, due to a deformity or excessive presence of lumps or stains, are commercially rejected.
Aware of this problem, the Espigoladors Foundation began its activism and gave life, shortly after, to es im-perfect®. For this entity, this activity was an adventure from the very beginning. Until then they had not prepared any type of food product as such. They worked on its collection, but not on its manipulation or transformation.
Likewise, the deformities of fruits and vegetables made them foods that required a greater attention with regard to their prior preparation and subsequent cooking.
Challenge: extend the shelf life of preserves made with surpluses or fruits and vegetables discarded for aesthetic reasons
es im-perfect® are preserves of fruits and vegetables without preservatives or colorings. For Espigoladors, the challenge was to achieve a sufficiently long shelf life for the product to give it the necessary stability. To achieve this, they knew that they needed an autoclave to sterilize their products.
Solution: adaptation of the autoclaves and the entire process to your production needs
The Espigoladors Foundation was aware of the importance of being methodical and conscientious when it comes to food. That is why, with the support of the TERRA Food-Tech® food advisor, they first classified the different types of preserves by their acidity point, to establish the appropriate sterilization parameters (temperature-time) for each one of them. Later, in an external laboratory, they carried out a microbiological study of the stability of the preserve. The results were satisfactory, and therefore the sterilization process was validated.
“We want the product we make to be safe at the level of food quality, and that is why autoclaves are essential for our objective. They are our critical control point and therefore they must function correctly and have the corresponding certificates issued by the technicians.”Mireia Barba, president of the Espigoladors Foundation
At no time did they had doubts about the need for an autoclave. Initially, they tried a 150-liter autoclave and as production increased they decided to expand with a smaller 110-liter autoclave. They both functioned in the same way, but were slightly different in design, the little one was a more advanced version, allowing them to scale up production significantly.
Since the start of the workshop in 2018, Espigoladors and TERRA Food-Tech® have worked together with the purpose of adapting their autoclaves at a technical and design level according to their production needs. Together they have collaborated, from the first moment, to achieve maximum productivity and the highest performance of the machines.
“We recommend TERRA Food-Tech®, for all canners who want to sterilize their products.”Mireia Barba, president of the Espigoladors Foundation