This start-up in Israel turns ‘ugly’ vegetables into attractive ready meals

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Last updated: October 7, 2022 at 9:19 am IST

Everything is designed to preserve the taste and avoid adding coloring or other additives to the final product. In fact, it took two years of experimentation to refine the startup’s techniques. (Image credit: AFP)

In Israel, a start-up is going even further and has decided to use the ugly vegetable for ready meals. By reclaiming what producers can’t sell, a company called Anina uses its patented technology to convert this raw material into ultra-thin slices.

On this October 16 World Food Day, think of ugly vegetables that don’t make it onto the shelves because they don’t meet consumer expectations. Because in Israel, a start-up has found a way to make better use of this supposed veggie waste.

They might be too big, too crooked, or they might have all sorts of unexplained lumps and bumps, but that doesn’t make them any less delicious. This so-called ugly vegetable is often rejected for sale because of its imperfect appearance. Since the mid-2010s, they have benefited from rehabilitation campaigns in many supermarkets. Now anti-waste apps like Imperfect Foods and Misfits Market are also helping to restore their image. In Israel, a start-up is going even further and has decided to use the ugly vegetable for ready meals.

By reclaiming what producers can’t sell, a company called Anina uses its patented technology to convert this raw material into ultra-thin slices. Everything is designed to preserve the taste and avoid adding coloring or other additives to the final product. In fact, it took two years of experimentation to refine the startup’s techniques.

The vegetable strips serve as a basis for dishes enriched with protein, pasta, herbs, lentils or bulgur. The meals are visually appealing capsules that can be heated up in minutes in the microwave or on the stovetop. Three recipes were developed. They are Italian, Mediterranean and Vietnamese inspired and contain at least 40% vegetables. In addition to upcycling ugly vegetables and reducing waste, the initiative also strives to make ready meals more nutritionally valuable.

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