Harris Farm's new 'upcycled' food to tackle $36 billion Aussie problem

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·News Reporter
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Harris Farm Markets has announced the launch of their Re-purposeful Picks range which aims to combat the growing food waste problem in Australia.

The launch of the retailer's "upcycled" food range marks the first of its kind for Australian supermarkets and will involve repurposing would-be food waste into premium quality products with longer shelf life.

Food waste costs the Australian economy more than $36 billion each year, with 7.6 million tonnes of food wasted annually – 70 per cent of which is edible food.

According to the 2021 National Food Waste Baseline, the retail sector contributes more than 500,000 tonnes to the total food waste.

Split screen of front of Harris Farm Markets store and upcycled smoothies. Source: Harris Farm Market
Harris Farm Markets announce Re-purposeful Picks upcycling food range. Source: Harris Farm Market

Harris Farm takes action at a store level to combat climate change

Harris Farm Markets Co-CEO, Tristan Harris, said that Harris Farm has listened to the concerns of its customers regarding food waste and has been working for more than a year to develop their latest initiative.

“The Re-purposeful Picks range was created as a way for Harris Farm to take action at a store level to combat climate change, empowering each branch to reduce its daily food waste,” said Mr Harris.

The Re-purposeful Picks is Harris Farm’s fourth initiative to reduce its food waste, following the launch of Soilbiotic in February, Curious Cuts, and Imperfect Picks.

Food waste such as orange peel is also "upcycled" as food for livestock at the Harris’ family farm.

Split screen of repurposed pizza and pesto available in Re-Purposeful Picks range. Source: Harris Farm Markets
The Re-Purposeful Picks range will include 30 products, including veggies for pizza and pesto. Source: Harris Farm Markets

Harris Farms was also the first chain store retailer to ban the plastic bag in 2018 and the first to challenge food perceptions of “ugly” fruit and vegetables with their Imperfect Picks range in 2014.

“Harris Farm Markets has made a long term commitment to sustainability across all aspects of our business and a big part of this is being innovative in our approach as a retailer especially when it comes to food waste,” said Mr Harris.

According to the Harris Farm Markets website, "upcycling" works by taking fresh produce off the shelf before it goes bad and repurposing them into high quality food items.

However, Harris Farm confirm that "every new product is passed through a rigorous food safety process so that when it is transformed into something new it's both safe to eat and delicious."

'Helping the planet never tasted so good!'

The Re-purposeful Picks range will span across 30 products and will extend the shelf life of items that would have otherwise been thrown away by up to two months.

Products will include "upcycling" fruit into smoothies, bread into breadcrumbs and vegetables on delicious pizzas, and more.

Other products will include garlic bread, kale chips, frozen berries, salsa verde and artisan garlic bread.

"Perfectly good unsold bananas will become delicious smoothies. Yesterday’s sourdough will become breadcrumbs for your next schnitzel. Helping the planet has never tasted so good!" reads the Re-purposeful Picks webpage.

Harris Farm 'upcycled' products including pizzas and smoothies. Source: Harris Farm Markets
Harris Farm Markets is aiming to reduce food waste with their latest initiative. Source: Harris Farm Markets

Customers will be able to bag Re-purposeful Picks frozen berries for $1.99, compared to their usual berries which range from $3.50 to $7.99.

While Re-purposeful Picks garlic bread will cost shoppers only $1.99, as opposed to the $2.49 Harris Farm branded garlic bread.

As food waste differs from store to store based on customer shopping habits, Harris Farm Markets has equipped each store with the facilities to repurpose its food waste in-house to create this new range.

Mr Harris explained: “Through this new initiative, we will end up with less products on shelves that are nearing their expiry dates as items will be rotated sooner to create the Re-Purposeful Picks range".

"This means overall, we are creating longer life cycles to minimise food wastage across all 25 of our stores.”

All products are available now, subject to the stock at each store. Products and stock for the range will vary day-to-day and store-to-store.

To date, Harris Farm has invested more than $16 million into its sustainability initiatives, which have collectively eliminated over 31,000 tonnes of food waste.

The National Food Waste Baseline modelling has shown that industry-led change could lead to food wastage in Australia being cut in half over the next 10 years with a 50 per cent reduction target for retailers set for 2026.

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