World-first wonky broccoli crisps embrace circular economy

By Gill Hyslop

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Food waste Broccoli Circular economy farmer's cooperative

A small farmer’s cooperative in Scotland is putting on a big fight against food waste with its ‘world’s first’ range of crisps that puts broccoli front and center.

Broccoli is getting a new lease on life under the Grower’s Garden umbrella.

Based in the east of Scotland in Fife, the farmer’s cooperative of 16 growers have worked hand-in-hand for generations to supply retail with fresh produce like broccoli, cauliflower, kale, red cabbage, white cabbage and Brussel sprouts.

But, as nature will have it, the veg is not always perfect, and some is rejected by retail for being too big or too small.

Ticks all the boxes

Enter the world’s first wonky broccoli crisp, which ticks all the boxes: Vegan, low cal, gluten-free and sustainable, and puts food waste to shame.

Each pack of Grower’s Garden crisps is made with the fresh broccoli that does not quite fit the bill for retail, aligned with the coop’s circular economy mission to reduce waste, emissions and energy use.

According to Alan Wallace, commercial manager of Grower’s Garden, the response to the unique snack since its launch in December has been overwhelming.

“We use the wonky veg from our production of broccoli to add value to what has become a commodity crop,”​ he told BakeryandSnacks’ sister publication DairyReporter at the Free From Expo, held in Barcelona, Spain, at the end of May.

“We believe it to be a world first. The first ever crisp using fresh broccoli and not only that, but the number one ingredient is fresh broccoli.”

Fits the health bill

Available in four variants – including Naked, Chilli, Sour Cream & Chive and Cheese – the crisps (chips) are vegan, gluten-free, a good source of fiber, low in saturated fat and the 22g bags contain less than 100 calories.

They are also low in sugar and salt, and free from lactose, wheat, nuts and soy.

“It’s a healthy alternative to conventional crisps,”​ said Wallace, adding Grower’s Garden is currently rejigging its formulation to increase the crisps’ broccoli content from 27%-29% to around 40%.

“We’re also looking to reduce the salt content ever so slightly, at which point all four packs will comply with the UK’s National Health Services’ healthy living guidelines.”

Despite its infancy, the coop-cum-snack-producer has big plans in the pipeline.

It will be extending the broccoli range with additional flavors and is even playing with the same technology to use up the coop’s other wonky veg.

“For this Christmas, our goal is – and its ambitious – to have a Brussel sprout crisp that looks like a crisp and tastes as good as a crisp, but the number one ingredient will be fresh Brussel sprouts,” ​said Wallace.

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