A new Halloween candy has a sweet solution to food waste




CNN

The end of October is a sugar avalanche as kids don their Halloween costumes and grab as many sticky candies as they can. But the prospect of collecting and eating an entire bag of candy gets a little scary when you think about the impact.

Not only are most Halloween favorites unhealthy for children, many candy ingredients come from processes that harm the planet. Cocoa is often grown in rainforests that have been clear-cut for agriculture, for example. And unsustainable sugarcane production can also emit large amounts of planet-warming gases.

Then there are all the candies that are wasted afterwards.

But Amy Keller says she has a soft solution. Keller is part of the Spangler Candy family, the company behind iconic candies like Dum Dums lollipops. She puts a new spin on the family business as she tries to tackle child nutrition, global food waste and the climate crisis with Climate Candy.

FAVES plant-based chewy candies contain 96% fruits and vegetables, including apple juice, various fruit purees, sweet potato powder, rice flour, and more. And each packet of FAVES contains four servings of fruits and vegetables that would otherwise have been wasted on farms and grocery stores, the company says. It includes carrots, beets, sweet potatoes, squash, and pumpkin — all nutritious superfoods — and comes in flavors like cherry, orange, lemon, and strawberry.

“Food is fuel,” Keller, co-founder and CEO of PurePlus, told CNN. “For me, building something like Climate Candy is affordable and accessible. You can walk into the doorway, into the house and get people talking about the climate in a really fun way.

About a third of all food is wasted in the world, according to Project Drawdown, and that food waste accounts for about 8% of global greenhouse gas emissions. In the United States, ReFed – a non-profit organization dedicated to ending food loss and waste across the country – estimated that nearly 90 billion meals of food go unsold or uneaten each year.

It’s terrible for the planet, because wasted food – whether it comes from grocery store shelves, restaurant leftovers, or perishables left behind in refrigerators – ends up in landfills, where it generates methane, a invisible, odorless gas with more than 80 times more warming power in the short term than carbon dioxide.

Keller said Climate Candy offers a solution to the problem of food waste due to the ingredients her company chooses.

The prettiest fruits and vegetables are usually found in grocery store stories. They have the right shape and dimensions to be sold in stores and they correspond to consumers’ ideas of what fruits and vegetables should look like.

But there’s a second tier of produce “that either ends up going unharvested, put back into the ground, or sent to livestock feed or landfills,” said Keller, who has a career in the environment. and health. “And these are perfectly good fruits and vegetables.”

An image of a FAVES candy.

Climate Candy saves some of these products from going to waste and turns them into something that has a much longer shelf life.

“There’s more than enough for everyone,” Keller said of the wasted produce. “And none of the food banks can even keep up because it’s a perishable product.”

With Halloween approaching, Keller said Climate Candy would be a valuable addition to candy bags, but she also envisions the treat as a healthy alternative to traditional candy year-round.

“Halloween is coming and everyone is going to grab any size snack, and it’s your only day to be indulgent,” Keller said. “What we’re saying is, guess what, the other 364 days of the year? This can be what you can have from the foodie point of view. And I think that’s just something that could be nostalgic for this next generation.

Correction:
An earlier version of this story misrepresented the ingredients of FAVES candies.

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