Bread to Fight Food Waste
By ISABEL BONNET | April 18, 2019
During National Banana Day on Wednesday, the Banana Bar popup store opened its doors for one day, only to promote the recently-funded organisation SUNT. Visitors were invited to bring banana leftovers in exchange for banana bread. By 4pm, about 40 people had already stopped by at the Banana Bar to drop off their leftover fruit. The term “Sunt” means ‘waste’ in Dutch and ‘tasty’ in Norwegian.
Laura Hoogland, the founder of SUNT, rented a local at Prinsengracht 715 for the day, where she gave away samples of her homemade banana bread.
A year and a half ago, Hoogland quit her job. “I didn’t know what I was going to do,” she said. “So I started baking banana bread.” In a small Turkish market outside of Amsterdam, the woman made a deal with the two shop owners to get banana leftovers for free in exchange for her banana bread.
The owner of a popular cafe chain Corner Bakery, asked if he could sell the bread in his restaurant. What started as a diversion from her unemployment slowly became the idea for a start-up: SUNT.
Hoogland is the only member of SUNT who works alongside a banana farm in Ecuador, which smashes the bananas from their harvest that would otherwise be thrown away in order to produce the bread.
Ecuador is the largest producer of bananas in the world, with an annual production of 8 million tonnes, of which more than half are exported. “This is helping the environment and minimizing food waste,” she said.
According to the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations, 240,000 tonnes of bananas are thrown away every year in the Latin American country, leading to a high level of organic pollution.
The bread is fully made of mashed bananas, it is gluten-free and has neither lactose nor additional sugar.
Starting from April 29, SUNT’s first product will be available in 35 Albert Heijn supermarkets in Amsterdam. The banana bread will be given a 3-month trial to reach as many people as possible and check if the price is right. “I know for sure it will work,” Hoogland said. “We will expand it.”
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Isabel Bonnet is a 21-year-old second-year student in communication science at UvA. She is the founder and editor-in-chief of The Amsterdammer. Before its creation, she worked as a photo editor at the Independent Florida Alligator and did an internship at Le Monde.