Social enterprise enVie makes Boni soup using surplus vegetables
From today, there is a new product in the Boni range: soups from enVie. The soup is produced locally using surplus fresh vegetables by a Brussels-based start-up who support the long-term unemployed. So, enVie kills two birds with one stone: they offer a concrete response to both food waste and long-term unemployment. We work intensively with four partners, who each bring their own expertise: McCain Belgium, Randstad, REO Veiling and the Belgian Federation of Food Banks.
“Around one third of all food never actually reaches our plate”, explains project leader Seppe Verdonck. “Food waste is now a real issue, which enVie is actively addressing. A range of Belgian producers send us their surplus of fresh vegetables: courgettes, leeks, celery, tomatoes, carrots etc. – ideal ingredients for soup. This operating year alone, enVie will ‘rescue’ 40 tonnes of vegetables. After two years, that figure will rise to 100 tonnes.
Three soups are already on sale at OKay and OKay Compact stores, where you can choose between cream of tomato with basil, six-vegetable soup and carrot soup. Another four flavours will be added, depending on the season (and the seasonal vegetables).
Springboard to permanent work
enVie runs a training programme to re-integrate the long-term unemployed into the job market. Founder Naomi Smith: “Our staff commit themselves for one year. For 12 months, they receive the training and practical experience they need to become a professional production operator in the food industry. This is the ideal springboard to permanent work.”
After one year of work and training, enVie helps staff to find new, permanent jobs, and then other people get their turn with the Brussels-based soup producer.
Healthy, natural, local
“And the story doesn’t stop there”, explains brand manager Lore Cauwels. “The soup is also tasty and healthy. Two litres of soup contains at least one kilogram of fresh vegetables, so a bottle of enVie soup gives you a healthy dose of vitamins, fibre and minerals.” And the recipe contains no artificial colours or other additives either: the soup is 100% natural. Finally, enVie makes its soup in Brussels using fresh Belgian vegetables, so the soup is purely local.
“enVie fits perfectly into our vision of sustainable entrepreneurship”, emphasises Stefan Goethaert, director of Colruyt Group Fine Food. “We are always looking for solutions to food waste and, of course, the social aspect adds even more value. And that is why we are proud that we can use our retail knowledge to support enVie: from market research and food safety through to branding.” Having the soups on our shelves bearing the Boni label is actually quite meaningful.
EnVie received two Food Heroes awards at the CFIA Expo 2019 in Rennes, France; awards which recognise initiatives making a particular contribution to reducing food waste. The social enterprise was the overall winner based on the public vote and also won the 'Fruits & Vegetables' category. "EnVie puts food at the heart of our society; a solution that benefits food, people and the environment," said EU Commissioner Vytenis Andriukaitis, who headed the jury. "And its impact is enhanced by the involvement of a Belgian retailer."
With this initiative, we contribute to the following Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations.