Rubies in the Rubble are our second sponsor for the April/May issue of Seedling magazine! They are an amazing company making condiments out of food which would go otherwise go to waste – and their products are all vegan-friendly, too. We interviewed founder Jenny Costa to find out more about the origin of the company and its products.
What made you so passionate about the issue of food waste?
Growing up on a farm in Scotland, we would eat the vegetables we grew and were really resourceful, preserving produce so that it lasted all year round. After I moved to London, I learnt about the scale of food waste and immediately thought about the preserving methods I was brought up with. I wanted to create a solution to food waste and, with every jar I made, raise awareness about the need to value our food supply. At Rubies in the Rubble, we are on a mission to encourage people to waste less, treasure their resources and live more sustainably. We want to save the planet one jar at a time by providing a delicious and practical solution to food waste.
Where does Rubies source the ingredients for its products?
We work with a wide range of farmers & manufacturers in the UK and in Europe to utilise the surplus ingredients. To give you a flavour, we work with a hummus manufacturer in Wales to source the surplus aquafaba for our mayonnaise, get some of our onions from a farm in Essex, and pears from Portugal!
Have you encountered any resistance to the idea of using discarded food?
Yes! Some people think that we take rotten vegetables out of the bin to use, which really isn’t true. It’s about educating people that there’s so much perfectly fresh produce that gets wasted because it’s the wrong shape, colour, or simply surplus supply to demand at that specific time.
In an ideal world, what would you like to see happen with all the food that’s currently wasted?
At Rubies we are the biggest lovers of food, so it would be amazing to see all the food distributed evenly so everyone can enjoy! It’s absolutely shocking that 1/3 of all produce globally doesn’t reach a plate, which is the equivalent of 1.3 billion tonnes of food worldwide every year! If we reduced this amount by just ¼ there would be enough food to feed everybody on the planet.
What do you think the solution is to food waste? Should change come from the government, from ethical companies like Rubies, or from somewhere else? Or a combination?
There needs to be change from all sides. Shoppers have the power to change so much by voting with their wallets, by buying local produce that’s in season, and by being resourceful in using what they have.
Companies can also make a real difference; it’s great so see enterprises like Rubies pop up that try provide a solution to food-waste, and what Olio are doing is terrific.
Where will Rubies go next? Any exciting plans for the future?
This is a really exciting time for Rubies in the Rubble – we’re to launch rebranded packaging and tomato ketchup!
To make a big impact, we need to be creating products that people will enjoy every day, so over the next few years our focus will be on growing tomato ketchup & mayonnaise.
Finally, what products does Rubies currently have available, and where can we find them?
We have a range of condiments that are Packed with Purpose! We sell ketchups, mayonnaise, and relishes. You can buy our mayo in the Free From aisle at Sainsbury’s, relishes in Waitrose, and our whole range at Ocado.