Second chances: Singapore healthy snack firm Boxgreen ventures into upcycled beverages
Boxgreen is known for its healthy snacks such as nut mix, mushroom chips and soy crisps.
Co-founder Andrew Lim said:, “We started off as Boxgreen, making great tasting snacks until we thought, this needs something to wash it down with. So, we began brewing delicious drinks too.”
The current portfolio of chilled beverages includes a range of pressed juices, fruit teas, coffee, and milk teas.
Wanting to play a part in reduce food waste, Imperfect Drinks uses ‘ugly’ fruits and vegetables that would have otherwise be rejected to make its juices.
The fruits and vegetables from sourced from a Malaysian supplier that works with local F&B players.
Tea is sourced locally, while for coffee is selected from specialty coffee establishments who freshly roast the beans for maximum freshness.
The brand is also exploring the feasibility of turning used coffee grains, tea leaves and dried fruit pulp into fertiliser.
Second chances for all
Besides giving rejected produce a second chance, the company is also doing so in terms of job opportunities.
“We work closely with ex-offenders via training programs and employment opportunities in our factory at Changi Prison Complex,” Lim told FoodNavigator-Asia.
The factory handles juicing, brewing, blending processes as well as distribution.
“We want to do our part and do good for people and the planet and we hope to inspire people to do the same.
“To date, we’re proud to say that we’ve been part of the rehabilitation journey of over more than 60 ex-offenders.”
At the moment, the beverages are available on its online store, and a major supermarket chain in Singapore. There are no plans for exports at the moment, which Lim cited challenges in cold chain logistics.
The company will be launching a specialty tea bag subscription range in December.
Upcycled beverages are an upcoming trend in the Asia-Pacific region. Earlier this year, Nestle Australia created a sparkling coffee berry-based drink made from cascara, the coffee husk surrounding the coffee bean.
In Singapore, CRUST which is known for producing beer from surplus bread, and recently developed sparkling water infused with fruit peels to reduce fruit waste.
Another Singapore start-up Soynergy is developing a probiotic drink from okara, the waste by-product of tofu and soy milk production.
Over at the National University of Singapore, researchers have found a way to transform spent coffee grounds into alcoholic beverages.