Ever wondered what happens to the millions of tons of unsold fruits and vegetables each year? Well, most of them are thrown away, even though they’re in perfect condition.
Rubies in the Rubble started up in response to this problem – a sustainable food brand committed to making food for the future. Rubies in the Rubble was founded in 2011 by Jenny Costa. Alicia Lawson came on-board as a director in 2012 and since then the company has grown in greatness. It’s now stocked in Waitrose, Ocado and – our personal favourite – served on Virgin Trains.
Like all of our Virgin companies, Virgin Trains are committed to a sustainable future, so when they learned about Rubies in the Rubble and their product offering, supporting them and serving their products in first class dishes was a no-brainer. Launching in May, the West Coast Apple chutney is served with a cheeseboard on the first class menu. The apples are collected at Euston station – approximately 1,300 a week – and then sent to Devon. They're processed by hand and then made into the delicious West Coast chutney, sent back to Euston and served onboard.
We asked Jenny, founder of Rubies in the Rubble, why it’s so important that consumers start thinking more carefully about food waste.
“Today, approximately one third of all food produced on our planet is wasted – either in transit (from field to consumer) or thrown by consumers buying too much and discarding the excess. At the same time almost 1bn go hungry. At Rubies in the Rubble we believe we our planet creates enough food for all and we need to make sure we make the most of all we have and encourage better distribution of that food. By simply reducing what you waste at home, getting creative with leftovers, shopping in-season, buying just what you need and sharing what you don't need – we can work towards a world were there is enough food for all. Never let a good thing go to waste. Relish your resources and get loving your leftovers!” said Jenny.
The team at Rubies in the Rubble are committed to their vision of bringing about positive change – offering both a practical solution to food waste, as well as acting as a vehicle through which to raise awareness and change attitudes to wastage.
The high-quality relish made at Rubies in the Rubble comes from surplus produce that would otherwise be discarded – ingredients have to pass a taste test, not a beauty contest. Jenny and her team don’t care if it’s too big, too ripe or just plain pear-shaped. They just value good food, and think it’s there to be cherished. Nice, huh?
Their business model is based on these few, core beliefs:
- Make use of what you have
- Care about your resources
- Embrace oddity
So, what advice do they have for other companies looking to build more sustainable supply chains? “We believe businesses have the opportunity to make amazing impacts on our society. By thinking through our supply chain and seeing each part not only by its monetary value, but also by its cost to the planet, we can start making positive changes for all – imbedding good business practices into every part of your work. Make the most of everything you have and treat it like treasure“ said Jenny.
What’s next for Rubies in the Rubble?
The team have been focusing on making sure they nail it before they scale it and now that they’re confident that they have a valued brand and robust plan – they’re ready for next steps. “ We are currently developing a new range of condiments which should launch in the new year. We are really excited for this new range and many more ideas and partnerships soon to come.” reports Jenny.
As if there wasn’t already enough good reasons to book a trip on Virgin Trains? Now you have the West Coast Chutney on the first class cheeseboard to get excited about.