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Trending: Twinkie Vodka, Package-Free Supermarket Driving Food Industry Closer to Zero Waste

Image Credit: Misadventure & Co.

One-third of the world’s food — approximately 1.3 billion tons — is lost or wasted, a fact that is spurring startups to seek out new solutions to keep food out of landfills and stopping waste at the source.

California-based distillery Misadventure & Co. is working to drive down food waste in a completely unexpected way — by transforming discarded Twinkies and other dump-destined baked goods into vodka.

“When we first came up this idea, no one thought it was a good one,” Sam Chereskin, Co-Founder and CEO of Misadventure & Co. distillery told NBC 7 San Diego.

The brand stands behind the concept of ‘hedonistic sustainability’ — the idea that you don't have to punishing yourself to do good. Misadventure sources all of its key inputs from Jacobs & Cushman San Diego Food Bank, collecting the 1,000 pounds of expired baked goods or ‘unsuitable’ food donations discarded by the food bank each week. “We get Twinkies, Ho Hos, French baguettes, crullers, you name it. The whole bakery aisle goes into our vodka,” added Whit Rigali, Co-Founder and VP of Marketing and Sales.

Though a far cry traditional inputs such as potatoes or grain, baked goods contain all of necessary starches and sugars required to make alcohol. And the production process is much the same. Recovered products are blended, mashed and pitched with yeast to ferment into alcohol, before undergoing the distillation process where it is filtered into vodka.

Producing their products with food waste allows the company to keep costs down, which ultimately trickles down to consumers. A bottle of Misadventure Vodka bears a price tag of $22. While the novelty and low cost are likely to draw consumers’ attention, the company is focusing its marketing efforts on highlighting its unique business model and the low environmental impact of its product.

Misadventure & Co. isn’t the first to employ such a business model — Dogfish Brewery recently rolled out a beer made with rotten produce and stale bread and Stone Brewing in San Diego uses recycled sewage water to make its beer.

Meanwhile, a new zero waste grocery store has popped up in London, providing urbanites access to package-free produce to toothbrushes and even gin.

Located in Hackney, Bulk Market stocks it shelves with items from local providers, cooperatives, social enterprises and community farms and some products are even made on site. Most of the store’s produce comes from under 50 miles away and is UK grown or made to organic standards, or are certified by Soil Association. Sourcing locally is what allows the market to eliminate the majority of packaging typically required for transporting products.

“I wanted to support the right businesses and be able to shop without creating any waste, but there wasn’t anything like that in London,” Ingrid Caldironi, Founder of Bulk Market, told The Independent. “I always thought waste was a natural output of modern living, but it turns out to be poor design. Things aren’t designed in a circular economy mind-set yet.”

The shop will soon have a working beehive on site as well, producing fresh honey from London bees.

Bulk Market has even rolled out a composting scheme, encouraging customers who lack the space or a borough composting program to bring their organic waste to the store to feed its commercial grade composting scheme.

Bulk Market is currently operating in a pop-up format and has launched crowdfunding campaign to help raise the necessary funds to secure a permanent location.

Launched in 2006, Sustainable Brands has become a global learning, collaboration, and commerce community of forward-thinking business and brand strategy, marketing, innovation and sustainability professionals who are leading the way to a better future. We recognize that brands today have… [Read more about Sustainable Brands]

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