Making Upcycling Trendi - Uplifting Upcycling #7
Peek in to the future of upcycling infrastructure being created by Trendi.
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Happy Tuesday Market Shakers. Today we bring you our penultimate post about food waste and upcycling. We’re going global to talk with a Canada-based startup, Trendi, who develop robotic upcycling solutions for the food and beverage industry. Hold on to your phones, tablets and laptops, this is an exciting ride.
Trendi was founded in 2019 by co-founders Carissa Campeotto and Craig McIntosh. Their vision is to reduce food waste at the source and upcycle it into nutritious, shelf-stable products so people can easily enjoy healthy, sustainable foods. They produce high-tech solutions including a smoothie machine and also BioTrim, a technology that upcycles producers' waste products into freeze-chilled, nutritious BioFlakes. Excitingly, they have plans to blend the two business arms together. (More on this below).
Last year they raised CAD$2.25 million in seed funding to develop their BioTrim technology. We sat down with Carissa Campeotto, co-founder and CMO, to find out more about Trendi’s business and its vision to transform our food system.
Trendi’s Journey: From vending machines to trucks that upcycle
Carissa Campeotto and Craig McIntosh have a shared background in upcycling. Craig had spent seventeen years building waste reduction programs for commercial kitchens. Carissa has seen great success reducing over 40,000 kilos of food waste while operating a juice bar. Several years ago, they got together to start a venture called Trendi.
When the pair started out, their vision was all about delivering fast, affordable nutrition to consumers using the power of vending machines. High tech machines that vend delicious smoothies and ensure that none of the nutritious raw ingredients goes to waste. They built their product and were all set to launch, but things didn’t go as smoothly as planned.
Carissa sees the pandemic as a blessing in disguise. While it delayed the launch of their smoothie vending machines, it helped Trendi more deeply connect with their core values: fighting food waste and building a more equitable food system.
Over the coming months, Carissa and Craig were able to secure funding to develop a prototype of their BioTrim mobile upcycling truck.
BioTrim: supporting upcycling of food waste at the source of production
Trendi’s BioTrim is a mobile unit kitted out with machinery and technology that upcycles waste into freeze-dried flakes and powders. The BioFlakes can be used by companies in new products, for example, by upcycling “ugly” tomatoes into soups.
At the moment, Trendi’s BioTrim tech can process up to a tonne of waste per day. Carissa emphasises that BioTrim is completely customizable to a customer's needs because waste tends to be unique depending on the organization.
Trendi has seen great success with the BioTrim concept, which is still in pilot stage, with a prototype set for summer 2022. Trendi already has orders on the books for the technology, as well as requests to make it even more scalable.
BioTrim trims costs while creating a lot of value
With Trendi’s drive to put a stop to food waste with BioTrim trucks, they price their solution in a way that can be accessible to food producers and food makers of all shapes and sizes.
Trendi’s service is a marriage between technology and people. In addition to upcycling and preserving products, their subscription includes technical analysis and expert advice to help customers profit from their upcycled materials.
Waste disposal is a big cost to businesses. With Trendi’s technology, companies can cut these costs, while also creating brand new ingredients from their waste that they can use to make new, value-added products.
Players around the world see potential in BioTrim
Trendi has received interest in BioTrim from customers around the world, including ones in the UK as well as Europe, North America, and the Middle East.
As a growing company, Trendi’s first decision when planning its expansion is to find a partner who shares their same vision for a world without waste.
Is BioTrim making a stop by Japan?
Japan appeals to Trendi as a market for BioTrim and also their smoothie machine.
After COVID lumps and bumps, it’s smoothie going for Trendi’s Smoothie Machine
The COVID-19 pandemic wasn’t enough to stand in the way of the world’s thirst for smoothies, and Trendi’s Smoothie Machine has grown globally since launching in 2020.
The Smoothie Machine is already being used by customers around the world who rent it on subscription, the same model used for BioTrim. Carissa explains an automatic smoothie machine became an especially attractive prospect during the COVID-19 pandemic.
As automation of our daily lives increased exponentially during the pandemic, demand for the Smoothie Machine looks set to keep soaring. In fact, Trendi already has plans for how to blend their machine with BioTrim.
With Trendi’s business coming full circle, we asked Carissa about her aim over the next couple of years.
The only way for upcycling is up!
For Carissa, Trendi’s game-plan over the coming year is tied heavily to UN global goal to cut food waste in half by 2030.
Alongside driving the market for upcycled food and beverages themselves, Trendi is also banking on more and more players investing in upcycling.
Trendi is also active in promoting food waste reduction in people’s homes as well as commercially. Earlier this year they launched The Pledge to Stop Food Waste campaign which aims to rally businesses and consumers behind the UN Sustainable Development Targets for waste reduction. The pledge involves a 21 Day Food Waste Challenge that asks participants to track their food waste over 21 days and record it. Campaign materials provide tips and knowledge on each day to help educate participants on how to reduce daily food waste.
That’s a wrap!
There you have it folks. We hope this interview left you feeling inspired and full of anticipation for the future like it did for us. We’d like to extend a huge thank you to Carissa and the Trendi team for arranging and supporting this interview.
We’ll see you next Tuesday when we’ll be exploring a brand new type of plant-based product powered by upcycling.
Uplifting Upcycling Chapters
#4 - Shelf Sweep
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