Every year, about 2.5 billion tons of food are thrown away worldwide, which not only entails enormous costs, but also produces about 2.5 kg of CO2 equivalents per kilogram. Therefore, in 2020, Alexander Piutti founded the company SPRK.global in Berlin, which aims to provide a sustainable and efficient solution to the problem of surplus food in the supply chain. We spoke with Alexander and Robert Leuendorf, Lean Production Manager at mirontell fein & frisch, a SPRK partner, about their sustainable fruit salads, which are produced from surplus food, among other things. mirontell is a fruit salad producer whose products are sold throughout Germany.
Alexander Piutti (left) and Robert Leuendorf (right)
Redistribution through digital supply chain
At the time of the pandemic, Alexander was able to observe that the warehouses in the wholesale markets were getting full, but that the catering industry could no longer buy these stocks. “The entire B2B channel has completely collapsed from the customer side at the start of the pandemic. And that is exactly what our concept responds to: the rapid redistribution of perfectly edible profits that occurs within the supply chain. Profits arise, among other things, because the supply chain cannot be viewed digitally. “
In the beginning, SPRK mainly supplied to NGOs such as Arche, SOS-Kinderdorf Berlin and Hope Mallorca in Spain. With the increasingly positive response, also from the industry, Alexander quickly realized that they should also focus on commercial companies: “We wanted to have a foothold in the manufacturing industry in particular, so we looked around for suitable partners.” Robert Leuendorf explains that they found each other through a common knowledge of water polo: “Waste management is of course an important theme for us in the processing industry. Because if you keep” waste “to a minimum, you can also reduce the associated costs We are therefore very Glad we can add another positive effect to our fruit salads. ”
Alexander points out that SPRK deliberately does not mention food waste, as many will associate this with defective products. “Right at the start of the supply chain, there are large tons of individual products lying around and only partially recoverable. Profits mean that there is too much of a particular product, at a particular place and at a particular time.” To ensure a smooth production process for this, a corresponding transparency about the respective product specifications is also required. Alexander: “There must also be buyers who can handle large tonnages. The new thing we offer here is that we are familiar with the specifications of the processors and we look at what the imports have to offer. This matchmaking of specific product profits and demand is through our platform. ”
Extended supplier work table
However, the platform that SPRK builds is not an open marketplace, as is the case with Ebay, for example. “It does not come to us in this form either. We see ourselves as the suppliers’ extended work table, which we help to sell their top products well at a good price. So it is a curated marketplace that consists only of parts. The information and data required for the individual fruit segments can be collected and displayed with us, so we build complete data sets that do not yet exist in this form, so that our customers can decide whether the products are suitable or not for their specific processing or recipe. “
Hundreds of tons sold
Robert is pleased; although they are not surprised by the general demand for the new fruit salads, they are surprised by the very specific desires of a customer. “We are very happy with this and certainly have a lot of work to do.” Both Lean Production Manager and Alexander Piutti were pleasantly surprised that hundreds of tons of the fruit salad were in demand within a year.
Alexander is convinced that the industry will be more active in fighting profits in the coming years. “The collaboration between SPRK and Mirontell shows that it is very possible. The products are already in demand and processed from large sales channels. And the more partners from the food industry, the better it is for the climate. Takes courage from innovators and companies. Just like Mirontell.” At present, the products are only offered in Germany.
Works on a SPRK app
“Our main product consists of a 5 liter container filled with 3.3 kg of fruit. The rest consists of a juice specially made for this product, which is completely free of preservatives. We will not rule out that we will also use this in the future. Go “will offer trade in sustainable packaging. But sustainable packaging is currently five to six times more expensive than plastic packaging, which is not accepted by supermarkets. In addition, the mindset of consumers still needs to change,” says Robert. Eurest, a subsidiary of the globally active Compass Group and one of its largest customers, has already responded very positively to the fruit salads.
SPRK is currently considering developing an app to make the platform more user-friendly. NGOs, welfare institutions or generally groups with little or no budget will also continue to be provided. “We have already delivered about 200 tonnes to these auxiliary multipliers within the last 12 months,” says Alexander. In general, it is important to make the platform as efficient and user-friendly as possible.
For more information:
D-13505 Berlin, Germany
mirontell fein & frisch AG
Zum Kiesberg 8
Phone: +49 33701 35730