Innovative Kent company is putting ‘rescued’ fruit and veg into a wide variety of uses

Nimisha Raja

Nimisha Raja

Air-dried fruit and vegetable crips manufacturer Nim’s has reported a 20 per cent rise in turnover on the back of achieving ‘zero food waste’.

The Sittingbourne-based company, which employs 18 people, uses over 600 tonnes of fresh produce every year, with 95 per cent of that classed as rescued or ‘wonky’ and wouldn’t be sold in supermarkets. It then uses all of that fruit and veg in its range of crisps, drinks, garnishes, and edible teas.

Nim’s has recently invested £30,000 into a new machine to offer bespoke formats, including fruit and vegetable powders, and has also unlocked a variety of new ingredients and garnishes.

These cover apples, pineapples, pears, watermelons, and all citrus fruits and can be used to flavour alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks at the point of manufacture, as well as in bars, pubs and hotels at the point of making or serving cocktails.

They are also incorporated into baking and cake decorations and by restaurants when garnishing dishes.

Full crop usage

Founder Nimisha Raja explained: “Achieving ‘zero food waste’ is a big task for a small producer, but it was something we have been committed to since we launched and now proudly boast that all the fruit and vegetables, including the skin and core we buy and process, is used in a meaningful way.

“0.03 per cent is unfit for human consumption, but we even have an answer for that with it being successfully sent to an anaerobic waste treatment plant and returned to us in the form of energy.”

“This isn’t marketing rhetoric either. Our commitment to transparency and compliance has meant scrutiny through rigorous auditing bodies, such as BRCG, Sedex and SMETA, as well as customers such as Pret A Manger, The Azzurri Group, Marks & Spencer and Holland & Barrett all holding us to account.

“We did this for sustainable reasons. However, we quickly found that with the right machine we could create smaller ingredients that we are now selling online or direct to trade.”

Nim’s is now approaching growers and distributors of fresh produce with a view to buying their excess fruit and vegetables.

The company’s sustainability efforts have already seen it create edible teas and pet food, with one of its most popular ranges being apple cores for horse treats.

“It’s really rewarding to know that our suppliers appreciate the opportunity to declare their own reduction in food waste by proving they are using a ‘zero food waste’ supplier. In turn, this counts towards sustainability efforts and how they are combatting food waste across their supply chain.

“Early adopters in the manufacturing sector have been a gin distiller for our citrus peel to flavour its gin, as well as ice cream, yoghurt and porridge brands using our powders (apple, pear, pineapple, lemon, orange) to add natural and sustainable flavours to their products.”