Every year, some 2.5 billion tonnes of food are thrown away worldwide, which not only entails a significant cost, but also generates around 2.5 kg of CO2 equivalent per kilo. For this reason, Alexander Piutti founded SPRK.global in Berlin in 2020, whose objective is to offer a sustainable and effective solution to the problem of food surpluses throughout the supply chain. We spoke with Piutti as well as Robert Leuendorf, Lean Production Manager at mirontell fein & frisch AG, a partner of SPRK, about their sustainable fruit salads produced from, among other things, food surpluses. mirontell is a producer of fruit salads whose products are sold throughout the country.
Alexander Piutti (left) and Robert Leuendorf (right).
Redistribution through the digital supply chain
During the pandemic, Piutti could see that warehouses were filling up with wholesale markets, but restaurants could no longer call on them. “The whole B2B rail completely collapsed on the buyer side at the start of the pandemic. And that’s where our concept comes in: the rapid redistribution of perfectly edible surpluses that occur along the chain. Surpluses occur in part because the supply chain cannot be viewed digitally.”
In the beginning, SPRK mainly supplied NGOs such as the Ark, the SOS Children’s Village in Berlin and Hope Mallorca in Spain. With increasingly positive responses – also from the trade – Piutti quickly realized that they also had to focus on commercial businesses: “Above all, we wanted to gain a foothold in the processing industry, that’s why we looked for suitable partners. .” Leuendorf says they met through a mutual knowledge of water polo: “Waste management is naturally a big issue for us in the process industry. Because if you minimize ‘waste’, you can also reduce the corresponding costs. We are therefore very happy to be able to add another positive aspect to our fruit salads.”
Piutti points out that SPRK deliberately does not talk about food waste, as many would associate it with defective products. “Particularly at the beginning of the supply chain, there are large quantities of individual products that lie somewhere and can only be partially picked up. Here, ‘surplus’ means that there are too many goods in a certain product, at a certain place, at a certain time.” In order to ensure a smooth production process for this, there must also be corresponding transparency about the respective production specifications. Piutti: “There must also be buyers capable of handling large volumes. The novelty of what we offer is that we know the specifications of transformers. This linking of specific surplus and demand is ensured by our platform.
Extended Vendor Workbench
The platform that SPRK is building is not, however, a public marketplace, as is the case with Ebay, for example. “And it won’t become more public either. We see ourselves as an extension of the suppliers, whom we help to sell their best products well and return them at a good price. So it’s an organized market, which is not visible only in But the information and data needed for each fruit segment can be collected and displayed with us, so we are building comprehensive data sets that do not yet exist in this form, but which in turn allow our buyers to decide whether or not the products are suitable for their particular treatment or recipe.”
Hundreds of tons marketed
Leuendorf says he is happy; while they weren’t surprised by the general demand for the new fruit salads, they were surprised by the very specific requests expressed by one customer. “We are very happy about it and we also have a lot of work to do,” said Leuendorf. The lean production manager and Piutti were pleasantly surprised that several 100 tons of fruit salad had already been requested in one year.
Piutti is convinced that the industry will deal more actively with surplus products in the years to come. “The cooperation between SPRK and mirontell shows that the math works. Goods are already in demand and processed in large channels. The more food partners that join, the better it will be for the climate. Courage is needed for innovators and companies like mirontell.” Currently, the products are offered exclusively in Germany.
Working on a SPRK app
“Our main product consists of a 5L container filled with 3.3 kg of fruit. The rest consists of stock produced specifically for the product, which is completely free of preservatives. We do not want to exclude that we will not offer this to the “…said Leuendorf. Eurest, a subsidiary of global Compass Group and one of its biggest customers, has already had very positive feedback on fruit salads,” he said.
SPRK is currently considering the development of an application to facilitate the use of the platform. NGOs, supply organizations or generally groups that have little or no budget will also continue to be supplied. “We have already delivered about 200 tonnes to these aid organization multipliers in the last twelve months,” Piutti said. In general, he said, it’s important to make the platform as efficient and user-friendly as possible.
For more information:
mirontell fein & frisch AG
Zum Kiesberg 8
Telephone: +49 33701-3573-0