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Sunt opens world's first mashed banana factory to fight food waste

Having made the long journey from Central America to Dutch ports, an average of 120,000,000 kg of bananas are destroyed on arrival annually, purely for cosmetic reasons. The fruit may have started ripening along the way or been bruised or scratched.

Dutch food brand Sunt built its business on turning rescued bananas into sweet treats. Now, it's scaling up by constructing a mashed banana factory. To source its raw material, Sunt is working with Fyffes — one of the world's largest banana distributors — which will deliver a projected 2,100,000 kg of rejected bananas from the port of Antwerp yearly.

In the banana factory, fruit is automatically peeled, sorted, ripened if necessary and mashed. Sunt won't just be using the purée for its own banana bread, granola and baked donuts, but will also supply it to other food makers. The brand started in a home kitchen in 2019, grew to 1,500 points of sale in 2022 and plans to expand to Germany in 2023.

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We've covered a host of initiatives focused on reducing food waste, from a Belgian supermarket selling mushrooms grown on its unsold bread to a Japanese cookie brand using leftover whey. Like most efforts to create true impact, rethinking food systems requires digging in for the long run. Sunt's founder, Laura Hoogland, started working with Fyffes back in October 2020 to determine how supply chains could be adapted to create a less wasteful flow of rejected bananas. So: stick with it, and try to choose the right partners ;-)

Innovation of the day