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Fighting Food Waste One Rugani Juice at a time

09/23/2020

Food security is a global concern and many organisations are looking for ways to reduce food wastage. Being farmers and understanding the value of food, Greenway Farms decided to investigate value-added juice processing many years ago. In 2015, the first Rugani 100% Carrot Juice was produced and is the result of Greenway Farms’ efforts in combatting food waste.

According to the United Nations Policy Brief: The Impact of COVID-19 on Food Security and Nutrition June 2020, they recommend food systems to be transformed to work better with nature and for the climate:

“More efficient, sustainable, and resilient food systems require careful management of land, soil, and water through integrated approaches. Such food systems also require reduction of post-harvest food losses at every stage of the value chain with improved practices. These include access to low-cost handling and storage technologies, and packaging. Change in date labelling in packaged food, in-store promotion of healthier options of products, and awareness raising campaigns will help reduce food waste. Resilience to climate change can be achieved through water and energy-saving irrigation, conservation agriculture, and controlled environment farming, livestock grazing management, energy-efficient cold storage, biogas production, and renewable energy. Conducive policies can help drive  positive behavioural change and increase the attractiveness of sustainable and resilient alternatives.”

Farming with nature
Greenway Farms work with nature, not against it. We work hard at promoting the micro life in the soils and we do everything possible to protect the microfauna and -flora on our farms. We develop our own compost to ensure our carrots are treated and nurtured in a “green” way and to ensure the best nutritional results. To ensure the sustainability of 2 500 Ha on which we farm, we also use crop rotation. Once a carrot crop has been harvested the land needs to regenerate for 3 years. It undergoes a rehabilitation period where a completely natural process is used to bring the soil health back to its natural status.

Post-harvest Food Loss
At the time of harvest, every good farmer ends up with a certain percentage of the crop that is not aesthetically pleasing enough to sell, but still perfectly nutritious. Greenway Farms produce 300 tons of fresh carrots per day. For perspective, if you place every pallet produced in one day on top of each other, we would reach the top of the empire state building in New York (381m). We supply 50% of Southern Africa’s fresh carrots. Unfortunately, 20% of these fresh, could end up as potential food waste, due to some carrots being too small, big, deformed, or broken during harvesting.

As the leaders in carrot agriculture and the pioneers of hydrocooling technology in South Africa, we took it upon ourselves years ago to innovate in the agro-processing space, fighting food waste one Rugani juice at a time.

Our world-first root extraction process was born
One of our founders, Vito Rugani, started researching carrot juice extraction.  He came across a world-leading specialist in the topic, Professor Gabriele di Giacomo of the University of L’Aquila in Italy. Vito decided to take a trip to Italy to learn more. For a few days, the professor lectured Vito on the science behind root vegetables.

He was one of those enthusiastic scientists who realised the nutraceutical value of viable bioavailable beta-carotene.

Vito gained insight into how root vegetables behave, their nutritional value and the best way to extract the maximum amount of cell sap from these superfood veggies. Upon Vito’s return to South Africa, he commissioned an Italian engineering firm to design and build this world-first customised extraction plant.

Unique agro-processing setup
Rugani’s unique agro-processing setup, allows us to process the juice close to where the fresh produce is grown, the juice can be aseptically packed within a few hours of the produce being harvested, which preserves freshness and nutrient integrity. This also ensures 100% traceability of our fresh produce used.

The resulta highly bio-available nutraceutical
We transform this “not-so-perfect” fresh produce, that could have ended up as waste further down the value chain, into a highly bio-available nutraceutical that’s naturally gluten-free, naturally dairy-free and vegan friendly. Our juices are also Halaal and Kosher approved and our 6 veggie juice variants received the CANSA Smart Choice Seal of approval.

Not from Concentrate
Our entire range is made from fresh produce, not from reconstituting concentrates.

High in Beta-Carotene
All our root juices are high in beta carotene. This antioxidant is transformed into vitamin A (retinol) in your body. Extraction and pasteurisation convert Trans-Beta-Carotene into Cis-Beta-Carotene, making our extracted juice the richest source of this rare, sought-after goodness.

No Added Sugar
Our juices have no added sugar. Due to our unique agro-processing set-up, we harvest and process fresh produce immediately, this enables its natural sugars to be captured at a very early stage after harvesting. This is referred to as the “Golden Hour life force principle

Preservative Free
Our 100% veggie & fruit juices are pantry safe. No substances or chemicals are added to maintain its 12-month shelf life, we use long-life aseptic packaging to keep our juice fresh. No oxygen, no light equals a long shelf life. Only once opened, it should be refrigerated and consumed within 3 days.

Bioavailable
Using our unique world-first technology and innovation, our ground-breaking extraction process ruptures 95% of plant cells, making the nutrients more bio-available than eating raw veggies and fruits.

The 5% residue from the juice processing is used to produce biogas in a biogas plant next to the factory. The residues from the biogas production are transformed into organic fertiliser for the fields. Nothing goes to waste!

Accessible and Affordable
Compared to other health beverages on the market, Rugani 100% veggie and fruit juices, are much more affordable. Our long-life packaging ensures that our juices can be stored unopened at room temperature, which makes it convenient and accessible to all.

“We wanted to make nutraceuticals accessible and convenient to all. What once seemed an insurmountable task for a family of farmers is now a reality,” – Vito Rugani, co-owner of Greenway Farms