Social enterprise enVie makes Boni soup using surplus vegetables
Since 2018, you can find the EnVie soups in the Boni Selection range. The soup is produced locally with surplus fresh vegetables by a Brussels-based start-up, which supports the long-term unemployed. enVie thus kills two birds with one stone: they offer a concrete response to food waste and long-term unemployment. We are working intensively with four partners, each bringing their own expertise: McCain Belgium, Randstad, vegetable auction REO and the Belgian Federation of Food banks.
"About one third of all food never reaches our plates', says project leader Annelies Noblesse. "Food waste is a live topic. With enVie, we start precisely from this issue. Several Belgian producers give us their surplus fresh vegetables: courgettes, leek, celery, tomatoes, carrots etc. – ideal ingredients for soup."
Customers can find the enVie soup under our Boni Selection label in practical 1-litre bottles in the stores of OKay, Okay Compact and in 43 Colruyt stores. "The soup bottles were revamped this year: a white label (less ink), a refreshed enVie logo and mention of the three assets Social, Local and Veggie", says Stefanie De Smedt, corporate marketeer at Colruyt Group. "The back label gives more details about enVie with a link to their website for the whole story. It is indeed a special story which makes these soups different from other soups."
Three flavours are available all year long: tomato cream with basil, courgette velouté and leek cream soup. Since enVie's start in 2018, they already 'rescued' 70,000 kilos of vegetables and sold 132,000 litres of soup.
Springboard to a steady job
enVie runs a training programme to re-integrate the long-term unemployed into the job market. Founder Naomi Smith: "Our co-workers 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. The ideal springboard to a steady job."
After one year of work and training, enVie helps its co-workers to find new, steady jobs. Since the initiative started 6 co-workers already found a job elsewhere.
Social, Local, Veggie
"The story doesn’t stop there", Stefanie De Smedt continues. "The soup is also delicious and healthy. Two litres of the soup contain at least 1 kilo of fresh vegetables. This means a bottle of enVie soup provides you with a healthy dose of vitamins, fibre and minerals." Moreover, the recipe does not contain any colouring agents or other additives: the soup is 100 % natural. Finally, enVie makes its soup in Brussels using fresh Belgian vegetables, so the soup is purely local.
"enVie fits in perfectly with our view on sustainable entrepreneurship", says Fabrice Gobbato, general manager of OKay, OKay Compact and BioPlanet. "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 over food safety to branding."
The social initiative is often nominated for sustainability awards. In 2019, enVie won two European Food Heroes Awards, an award for initiatives fighting 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. This solution benefits food, people and the environment," said EU Commissioner Vytenis Andriukaitis, who headed the jury. "enVie has a big impact, which is enhanced by the involvement of a Belgian retailer."
With this initiative, we contribute to the following Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations.