Regeneration of the environment

Incredible amounts of resources are used to feed the world’s population. 25 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions come from agriculture, 70 percent of the fresh water is used for them and a third of all global energy is used for food production. At the same time, a third of the food produced is wasted and 20 percent of all deaths worldwide are directly linked to unhealthy diets. So we urgently need to produce in a more resource-efficient way and use the raw materials to make healthier food.

Every year, 2.8 million tons of avoidable food losses occur across all stages of the Swiss food chain. This produced but not consumed food leads to unnecessary CO2 emissions, loss of biodiversity and land and water consumption. Food waste generates 25 percent of the environmental impact of the entire diet in Switzerland, roughly the same as half of individual motorized traffic.

Pollution from wasting whey

Whey, the by-product of cheese production, is a front runner in terms of food loss and the resulting environmental pollution. 1.3 million tons of whey are produced in Switzerland every year. Whey contains very valuable ingredients. And yet only around 25 percent is used for food production in Switzerland. The rest mostly ends up in animal feed or the biogas plant.

This waste of whey is not only a burden on the environment, but often also a financial loss for the milk processing company. The recycling or disposal is often associated with costs for them, without being able to generate additional sales from it. Greater use of whey in food is made more difficult in Switzerland by the fact that two thirds of the total amount of whey is obtained in small, often decentralized cheese dairies and therefore requires a lot of transport. In addition, the fact that due to the variety of cheeses in Switzerland, the whey are also very different in quality – especially in taste. With today’s further processing processes, which are carried out in central systems and require a constantly large amount of whey quality that is always the same, this whey cannot be used.

Only 1 percent of the whey is processed by the cheese factories themselves into foods such as Molkenziger, ricotta or whey beverages, although that would make the most ecological sense and would also be an exciting additional revenue for the cheese factories. Fresh whey has many desirable taste properties, but processing often results in products that do not meet the taste of the majority or the options for processing, storage and marketing are lacking. In addition to the taste, we also see the problem in the lack of awareness of whey and its often bad reputation as a waste product in Switzerland.

What is whey upcycling?

Upcycling whey and other side streams of food production has huge potential. Upcycling is a process of material upgrading in which materials are converted into higher-quality materials. With upcycling related to food, raw materials are used as ingredients that would otherwise not be consumed by humans and are thus lost as food.

With new ideas, new technologies and a lot of educational work, we can upgrade whey to high-quality products, improve its taste, health value and reputation and ensure that it is also financially exciting to use whey.

In ten years we want to be responsible for a 1 percent reduction in the environmental impact of all Swiss food waste and make an important contribution to promoting the circular economy in Swiss food production. Circular economy is the sustainable way of doing business. It is based on the processes of nature, which always work in cycles. In the linear production processes that are still widespread today, raw materials are extracted, products are manufactured, sold, consumed and thrown away, which leads to environmental pollution. In the circular economy, the use of resources, waste, emissions and energy losses are minimized on the basis of four different strategies:

  • Regenerate: Improve natural ecosystems.
  • Limit: Less resource consumption per product.
  • Slow down: Less consumption and longer product life cycles through sharing, reusing, repairing and reconditioning.
  • Close: Recycling of no longer used products.

We aim for a step-by-step implementation with all four strategies. Our focus is initially on “limitation” by reducing the consumption of resources through the use of side streams. At the same time, we are involved in campaigns and in partnerships with other organizations to raise consumer awareness and encourage more conscious consumption. Wherever possible, we try to use few and recyclable resources and act locally in order to minimize transport routes.

We are also committed to regenerative agriculture. We invest part of our profits in projects that promote this type of «restorative» and resilient agriculture. So far, regenerative agriculture has not been tied to any guidelines, but it is very close to organic farming and, above all, takes local conditions into account. The aim is to create closed cycles and thus long-term sustainable and site-appropriate production systems, regenerate soil and ecosystems, produce healthy food and make a contribution to climate regulation.

Of course, we can – and must – improve in all areas. We do not claim to be perfect, but to keep moving in the right direction step by step. We question existing processes, look for feasible solutions, with intelligence and mindfulness. We invite you to take these steps with us for a future with really good food.

Sources

Frequently asked questions about the regeneration of the environment

We speak of food waste when food is not used for human consumption and this loss could be avoided. Whey is a very valuable raw material for human consumption and if it is not used as a food, it is a waste.

Whey is part of milk, a lot of energy has been invested in its production and milk production has a heavy impact on the environment. If it is not used as food, but used in some other way, for example in animal feed or in biogas plants for energy generation, this use can only generate a fraction of the environmental benefit that avoiding its loss brings with it.

Whey is part of milk and therefore not vegan, but vegetarian, as no animal rennet is used in the cheese production for our whey. Our products are ecologically sensible, because with them we avoid food losses.

The animal content of our products is limited to whey, which is produced in the cheese production process anyway and thus does not contribute to the increase in milk consumption. We also see sustainability in three dimensions: ecological, economic and social sustainability.

Not all vegan products are automatically sustainable. They too can pollute the environment or their producers can be paid unfairly. We try to live sustainability holistically in our company and with our products.

Sustainable use of our resources is very important to us and we have dealt very intensively with the topic of packaging in product development. There are a multitude of factors that we need to consider when choosing the packaging for our products.

These are, for example, the necessary product protection for the longest possible shelf life and stability during transport, the packaging systems at our production partners, the best coverage of the consumer needs of our potential customers and of course sustainability.These are, for example, the necessary product protection for the longest possible shelf life and stability during transport, the packaging systems at our production partners, the best coverage of the consumer needs of our potential customers and of course sustainability.

After considering all the factors, we decided on the current cups or bags. The cups are optimized compared to those of the competing products.

Our cups are made of completely separable materials, made of as little plastic as possible, stabilized with recycled cardboard and without an additional drinking attachment. The choice of packaging for the Recovery Shake Powder fell on the bags because they make do with minimal material consumption. But the packaging certainly still has a lot of potential for optimization!

We assure you that we are always working to improve. We are still at the very beginning of our journey and have to concentrate on a few things with which we can achieve as much as possible.