Image: LOOP Juice
LOOP Juice isn’t your standard juice company. First and foremost, it’s actually a waste reduction business — and one of the bonus by-products happens to be a nutrient-rich cold-pressed juice, which sells at a fraction of the price of similarly made juices.
Produce isn’t always as picture-perfect as we’ve been led to believe. Sometimes, fruits and vegetables are of atypical sizes or shapes or may not be ripe enough, and they end up being denied from gracing grocery store shelves. What happens to such rejected produce? It’s sent to landfill — or it was until LOOP Juice entered the scene.
As its name suggests, LOOP Juice is referred to as a “circular economy business model.” LOOP rescues produce that can’t be sold to grocery stores or other suppliers, and turns it into juice, as this produce can be just as nutrient-rich as the aesthetically-perfect variety. After the juicing process, the remaining pulp is then passed along to a dog treat manufacturer. The result? Tonnes of waste is diverted from landfill, consumers have another healthy juice option, and dog owners can purchase vegan treats — and it’s all because of the repurposing of rejected produce.
Our ancestors, who used every single edible morsel of the fruits and vegetables they grew, would be pleased with LOOP’s business model. These days, we demand that our produce appear perfect, and we have little tolerance for minor imperfections, which rarely have any impact on taste or nutrient content. As a result of these consumer expectations, along with the inherently tricky distribution cycle of perishable food, one produce distribution company, Courchesne Larose, rejects more than 6,000 tonnes of fruits and vegetables per year, which is roughly a staggering 16 tonnes per day. This family-owned Montreal distributor donates more than 1350 tonnes of produce to food banks each year, but these agencies are limited in the amounts they can accept because of refrigeration and storage facilities.
About a year ago, LOOP Juice began its mission to rescue rejected produce when VP of Operations at Courchesne Larose, Frédéric Monette, troubled by so much waste, decided to find a solution. Looking for help, Monette approached Julie Poitras-Saulnier, who works alongside businesses to help them achieve sustainable production, and David Côté, cofounder of the raw organic food chain Crudessense and Rise Kombucha.
Now, LOOP Juice is in more than 500 stores in Quebec, and has recently broken into the Toronto market. However, the team shares a philosophical twist to what most believe to be the goal of building a business: Poitras-Saulnier says, although they plan to increase business, their goal is, “not to make more money, but to divert more food waste. The bigger we become, the more waste is diverted from landfill.”
The company has started working with Mucci Farms in Ontario, and by 2018, LOOP expects to have diverted 525 tonnes of produce from landfill, a figure that will likely increase as they rescue more rejected produce from other companies.
Although primarily in the waste reduction business, Poitras-Saulnier says they are very pleased to be able to offer a high quality, healthy product that is more financially accessible than many other similar juices. As well, cold pressing is an excellent preservation method that also ensures that each 355 ml bottle can be packed with more than 1.5 kg, or 10 servings, of fruits and vegetables. The more they can pack in, the better the nutritional benefit and value for consumers — and, of course, the less produce that gets wasted.
Use the Loop Locator to find out where you can purchase the juice near you.