Closing the loop: a circular food-waste business

While many businesses choose to focus their efforts on one product, LOOP Mission has a portfolio of varied items. We headed to its factory to see how the team goes about turning trash into treasure.
Loop Mission food waste 16x9 hero

Founded in 2016 and based in Montreal, LOOP Mission is a circular economy project that works with local farmers, restaurants and factories to upcycle food waste – turning it into everything from cold-pressed juices to handcrafted soaps and even dog treats. ‘In Canada, between 30% and 40% of food is thrown away,’ says Pascale Larouche, public relations lead at LOOP. ‘We save fruits and veggies that are rejected because they don't have the proper shape or size, or a shelf life that is long enough to survive the distribution cycle.’ We headed down to have a serious root around.

Team

LOOP Mission currently has 50 employees and counting, spread across administrative and operational functions.

Waste streams 

‘We primarily source our overstock from Canadian fruit and vegetable supplier Courchesne Larose, which it gets from various countries,’ explains Pascale. ‘For other byproduct ingredients, we partner with growers and manufacturers by purchasing what they can't use.’ 

Space

The LOOP Mission team currently has an office in downtown Montreal and a factory in the Anjou district of the city. It hopes to move into a new factory in Boisbriand in spring 2022. According to Pascale, the new facility will feature modern machinery for dehydrating, juicing, storing and freezing fruit. ‘It's five times bigger than our current space, so this means five times the possibility of rescuing more food,’ she shares. 

Alcohol 

Created in partnership with Toronto's Junction Craft Brewery, LOOP Mission's beers are brewed using imperfect fruit and day-old bread from Rudolph's Bakeries. It also works with Canadian potato chip brand Yum Yum to distill excess spuds into gin.  

Soaps

The brand has also partnered with local vegan fast food chain La Panthère Verte to turn rejected organic sunflower oil into handcrafted soap bars. The soaps are infused with unwanted fruits to create delicious scents like Lemon Honey and Cucumber Lime.  

Dog treats 

To further close the loop, the brand supplies its own byproducts – fruit and vegetable pulp left over from the production of its cold-pressed juices – to local pet food company Wilder Harrier. This, in turn, is used to make healthy dog treats. 

Impact

According to Pascale, LOOP Mission has so far saved more than 6,872 tons of fruits and veg, 446 million liters of water and 1 million slices of bread. This is equivalent to reducing 5,483 tons of greenhouse gas emissions.

Juices & smoothies

LOOP Mission uses imperfect fruit and veg to make its cold-pressed juices, like Morning Glory (orange, clementine and strawberry) and Beach Bum (pineapple, yellow pepper, ginger and turmeric). The juices are sold at more than 2,000 grocers nationwide. Customers can mix and match drinks online to create their own Loop Box – delivered for free to parts of Quebec and Ontario. 

Sodas

The brand's range of probiotic sodas is created by mixing cold-pressed lemon and ginger with northern plant hydrosols – ‘an infused water that is normally rejected in the making of essential oils’, explains Pascale. 

Rescue program

LOOP Synergies is a program facilitating partnerships between suppliers with overstock and manufacturers seeking to incorporate food waste into their products. Interested businesses can get in touch via email. 

Image: LOOP

This article was first published in Courier issue 46, April/May 2022. To purchase the issue or become a subscriber, head to our webshop.

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