One of the core ambitions of The Surplus Food Factory is to lead the way in the Netherlands the formulation of food waste solutions. We haven’t taken on this project on our own. Founder Bob Hutten is eager to provide a platform, making research on innovative waste solutions possible not only for our university partners, but for students as well. This is why from the start, we have worked closely with both the prestigious University of Wageningen as the University of Applied Sciences in Den Bosch.
Hutten also established a partnership with the Rabobank Nederland. Both partners work as a team on establishing sustainable solutions for global food waste. We also intend to create an expertise center together, dedicated to circular questions on the subject.
Circular entrepreneurship is in the pioneer phase of development. This is why cooperative efforts between businesses and centers for knowledge are essential. We believe that the platform we constructed around the Verspillingsfabriek provides the foundation needed for businesses and educators to build on in the food industry sector.
The Verspillingsfabriek intends to make more than an environmental impact. We want to make a statement concerning social values. We believe that talent should not go to waste. This is why approximately 70 percent of our production is executed by people who have what is called a distanced relationship to the the main-stream labor force.
We are proud to say that the Verspillingsfabriek has been certified with a PSO Level III for social entrepreneurship, a national certification awarded by the Dutch Organization for Applied Scientific Research (TNO).
In order to make this type of employment opportunity available, we work with the START Foundation who not only create jobs, but also make them accessible to those who have limited access to the Dutch labor market. Furthermore we collaborate with local SW (social laboratories) as well as WSD, a foundation active in social return and sustainable employment for the handicapped.
Together we want to show the world that inclusivity and sustainable business practices go hand in hand, going well beyond the limits of the laws of participation.
Ilona van den Berg, employee at The Surplus Food Factory
The recipes for our soups, sauces, ragouts and meal components are developed with care by our top chefs. We pay particular attention to keeping things pure and simple. We believe in the power of natural. This is why we avoid artificial additives. Our message is: what doesn't need to be be fooled with, should be left well enough alone.
There is neither a formal atmosphere or the need for straight-fitting suits and ties at our “THREE-SIXTY” innovation center. We even furnished our location with recycled school desks, vintage lamps and skateboards. Our auditorium was constructed with rescued chairs from the Amsterdam
Schiphol airport. This is a space created for free thinking; the type of surroundings needed to tackle questions of waste!
We established ourselves In the 44.000 square meter former distribution center of DHL, which had been empty for more than ten years. We gave the space new life. Our sister company Hutten, provided The Surplus Food Factory with the necessary, high-standard cooling and production equipment needed to get to work. The factory utilizes only 5.000 square meters of this enormous space.
The rest of the building houses our second concept 'THREE-SIXTY', where entrepreneurs and start-ups working on innovative concepts in social innovation and food rescue projects are located. We believe “the more, the merrier”. Collective brain power and cooperation will lead to the ideas needed not only to confront the problems surrounding waste, but to prevent them.