As a start up, we have big dreams. Big dreams to make a positive impact on not only consumers and their health, but also with supporting the wider picture of environmental and wastage issues. At such as early stage of our company journey, we aren’t quite there yet with resources, processes and materials to support these eco ideals. Despite this, we are dedicated to being honest and transparent with our current states and efforts in reaching for ethical and sustainability alignment.
Here’s the lowdown on our efforts so far:
Plant vs Animal Based Produce
It’s widely accepted now that plant based products (as long as sustainably sourced) on average have a far lower net environmental impact as compared with animal based produce. This is undoubtedly one of the key drivers of the plant based movement (along with health and ethical advantages). Simple swaps to plant based foods, with less reliance on animal produce can be a great personal contribution to reducing our environmental footprint. Owning personal choice and responsibility paths a promising future for our food industry and the environment. Whether you’re a vegan, veggie or a flexitarian- Tempiii's got your back!
Soy- what’s the deal?
Soybeans are a fantastic food source rich in complete protein, fibre, vitamins and minerals (BDA, 2022). Despite its rich nutrient profile, soy has got a bit of a bad rep. So what’s the deal? As always, misinterpreted data and headlines may be to blame. It was recently documented that soy production is the second largest agricultural driver for deforestation worldwide after beef (WWF, 2022). Naturally, this is a scary statistic- but beneath the headlines, and more importantly, the vast majority of soya is grown for the meat and dairy industry to feed livestock. With only approximately 6% of the world’s soybean harvest eaten directly by humans, it’s ironic that a solution to this problem would be to directly replace meat consumption with soybean based products (cutting out the middle man- i.e. animals). Making sure our tempeh is sourced responsibly is a core value of ours. Our little soybeans are grown and harvested in Canada where quality assurance and certification systems are among the best in the world. Winning!
With housing a food product, the intention is always to come up with the most safe, suitable and sustainable method to match purpose. Sustainability not only encompasses materials used, but also waste and carbon footprint.
We initially looked at getting compostable or biodegradable packaging but there were a few issues with this. Firstly, the water content of our Tempiii means the pouch has to be completely moisture appropriate. Secondly the cool temperature of Tempiii isn’t quite suitable for the materials biodegradable and compostable food pouches are made from. Compostable or biodegradable packaging is fab for dried and ambient products, but the technology and innovation isn’t quite there yet (and on an accessible budget) for us at the moment. Here’s hoping for innovation asap so we can skip plastic altogether! Luckily we are fully recyclable, which is the best we can do right now (validated by the RecyclableNow program). For online orders we house our pouches in thermal paper/ cardboard insulation that is fully recyclable. The ice packs are also reusable (always handy to have) otherwise you can safely thaw, drain down the sink and recycle the material too.
Wastage is one of the biggest contributors to energy usage and landfill. Small efforts add up to big impact. This is something we feel confident about. Luckily our pouches improve our product protection and shelf life, meaning less chance of direct product wastage. Additionally, we only produce and order small packaging quantities (made to order) reducing chances of consumable inventory and obsolescence from bulk buying. This makes us a little more expensive, but more eco friendly! Of course, we haven’t overlooked the innate plastic wastage issue of pre-packaged foods (particularly with snacking and convenience foods). In order to solve this we think this might require a global revamp in food handling and industry processes. But this isn’t something we’ve cracked just yet. In all honestly, we aren’t really sure how we could get round this- but we’ll keep brainstorming what we can do as a company to reduce material wastage and consequent net environmental impact.
Despite the high production standards of Canadian soybeans, there is still of course the negative carbon footprint impact through transportation importation. This is quite the challenge when it comes to food sourcing (crops need the right conditions, space and climates to grow efficiently). However, we will strive to find solutions to reversing our net carbon footprint to ensure our environmental impact is as low as possible. One way we’ve tried to improve this is by sourcing our packaging through a company that share the same ethos and environmental values as us. Not only are they UK based (improving transport emissions as compared to international suppliers) but their production methods use carbon-neutral printing technology. Additionally the flexible packaging uses far less resources to manufacture and transport when compared to other common types of packaging (such as HDPE bottles, pales, rigid PET containers; found in many supermarket products).
It’s been a journey finding suitable processes, materials and housing for our little Tempiii pieces! But we are happy with where we are starting out, and confident with where we are heading! We are nowhere near perfect yet, but of course as we continue on this journey and hopefully grow, so will our resources to hook you up with the coolest eco packaging, production methods and improved environmental impacts.
For updates with our journey ensure to follow us on socials to stay in the loop. @harpershealthfood