ESPIGOLADORS

“Buying this product will show how to be a good person by profiting ‘ugly’ fruits and vegetables”

Monday 8 June 2015, by Maria

2 inspired

A. The main facts about the activities of the company.

Espigoladors was founded in the 2013 b y Marina Pons i Garcia, Mireia Barba and Jordi Bruna,
three catalan entrepreneurs that wanted to explore an opportunity to improve a problem in the
food sector. What they saw was that while some people were looking for food in the rubbish,
some producers were throwing out some “imperfet and ugly” vegetables and fruits. All this
excessive amount of wasted food gave birth to this company; which main objective is to collect
and transform ugly fruits and vegetables in healthy products to solve two problems in our
society: unemployment and the waste of food.

WHAT ESPIGOLADORS DO?

The whole activity of this project could be resumed in four steps or activities: Collecting.
Donation, Transformation and Inclusion.

1. COLLECTING

● Collecting fruits and vegetables because the demand is low, so we have
excedents in the companies, producers and commerces. All the products that
are collected are certidicated with the collaborators net’s stamp.
● All products that look “ugly” and are not destinated to the market.
● The fruits and vegetables that could be consumed by consumers and are not
bought because they are too mature.

2. DONATION

Giving part of their products to people that don’t have money to afford it, through some
social entities that have capacity to receipt food, entities that are networking, entities
with different business model and finally entities sensitized with healthy lifestyle.

3. TRANSFORMATION/COMMERCIALIZATION

A part of the fruits is transformed into natural and artisanal products (jam, juices,
sauces, creams) perceived as quality and healthy products. These products are then
marketed under a social and sustainable brand “Es imperfect” spreading the love for the ‘ugliness’ and converted into sales. “Es imperfect” is the first brand in Spain that produces the products with food excedents.

4. INCLUSION

Giving the chance to “excluded” people in the society to work.
It basically means that this company offers the opportunity to people at risk of
exclusion to get a job and educate society in the love of perfect imperfections.
Risky groups of social exclusion:
● 27% of the Spanish population is in poverty risk and 24% in Catalonia (Idescat, 2013)
● The unemployment rate in Catalonia is 19,1% (Idescat, 3rd trimester 2014)
● 18% of the men and 16% of the women older that 18 years old are having obesity in
Spain.

B. The Ethical challenges this company is addressing.

In SPAIN:
➢ 1 million tons of fruits are wasted every year → 80 times bigger than the
quantity of food ‘Food Banks” are giving to people.

− In EUROPE:
➢ Half of the food produced is thrown away

− In CATALONIA:
➢ In 2010, 2 62,471 tons of food was thrown away (58% is wasted by families,
26% is wasted by shops selling food + 16% by restaurants)
➢ The total amount wasted by houses and restaurants in Catalonia per year
corresponds to 35kg of food per person (including the whole food industry
corresponds

Moreover, Spain is the 6th country in the UE where more food is thrown out (food that might
have been consumed or have another use):
● Spain: 7,7 million tons per year, which corresponds on average to 163 kg per person
per year.
● Catalonia: on average 700.000 tones per year of wasted food.
The statistics mentioned above represent some of the ethical challenges Espigoladors is
adressing. They want to solve this kind of food problems, and change the mentallity of
citizens.
An important amount of food is thrown every day by catalan people (as spanish and
european people), while there are a lot of citizens that have nothing to eat. As we said before,
Espigoladors project is also helping to create employment and integrate people at risk of
social exclusion.

C. What makes you believe this company is really ethical and why you trust it?

We have read a lot about Espigoladors, especially the information published on their website.
We actually were very impressed by their past work and future expectations. Espigoladors is a small but important organization that works in a very ethical manner and with a high level of transparency.

Some examples that make us believe in this company are:

- Interviews published by different journals.
- Their innovative business model.
- The different awars they have been granted. For example, they got rewarded with the EWWR (European Week for Waste Reduction) awards certificate for their outstanding action of turning products into opportunities. Furthermore, they won the award granted by “La Caixa Foundation - Obra Social”. Finally, they won an award granted by TASCA. These all shows us that Espigoladors is a company with a strong business model and strong socially resposible project with large present and future expectations.
- They give openly some numbers about the activity they are making.
- They repeat a model that already exists in the UK but added the donation part and are also collecting the fruits and vegetables instead of just buying it to some existing suppliers.

The company was created with the objective to find a solution to a problem in our society. All the actions, plans, goals they undertook were aiming at finding this solution by for example donating food to the people that cannot affort it or giving a job opportunity to people at risk of social exclusion.

D.The possible challenges facing the company in the future and how you think this company may improve.

- Trying to diversify and enter other markets and geographic areas (repeating this “social process” in other countries).
- Try to inspire other companies not to waste anymore (campaigns saying that eating mature fruits/vegetables isn’t bad for your health).
- Change consumption habits promoting healthy eating by incorpoarating imperfect products in the market and making them available to consumers in a funny way so that they are better accepted.

We think that the company main challenge in the future is convincing and inspire a maximum of associations and companies. The company has been established for more than a year but still inspiring other people and companies is a difficult task.

Bibliography

http://www.espigoladors.cat/?lang=es

http://www.espigoladors.cat/?p=11962&lang=es

Start a new discussion

2 Discussions / 2 Messages

  • ESPIGOLADORS 15 June 2015 at 13:23 , by Rize

    Great idea! Would love to bring this initiative to South Africa. Feeding the homeless, reducing waste and providing job opportunities is exactly what we need

  • ESPIGOLADORS 15 June 2015 at 14:02 , by Miriam

    This company is dealing with a problem, that many people are not aware of. Personally, I hate that I am exposed to the opinion, that a tomato has to be perfectly round and bright red. That is why the "ugly" vegetables and fruits are not bought in the supermarket and get thrown away at the end, which is ridicules and insane! Espigoladors is pointing out this problem and is providing a suitable solution which is also helping the poor people.

Location: Barcelona (Spain)

Sector: Human health and social work activities

Official website: http://www.espigoladors.cat/?lang=es

Nbr. visits: 582

Nbr. inspires: 2