“In 2022, it is inconceivable to put a product on the market or to launch a project without thinking about the impact on the environment.”
– Lysanne Bourret, Co-founder, The Pretty Ugly Company
She combats food waste, one jar of salsa at a time
Objective zero waste
While working in restaurants, Lysanne Bourret and her partner, Pierre-Olivier Gendron, saw the alarming amount of food wasted along the supply chain. The couple decided to do its part to address the problem by founding The Pretty Ugly Company, a project that allowed them to combine their interest in cooking with their concern for the environment. The startup, which considers 2022 its first real year in terms of sales and operations, offers a second life to ugly, rejected, or about to be rejected fruits and vegetables, using them as raw materials to make delicious salsas. With their simple, contemporary, and dynamic brand image, their quality products – available in mild, medium, and spicy varieties – stand out in a highly competitive niche.
Freshness on the menu
The Pretty Ugly Company is the only maker of salsa in Québec that uses only fresh tomatoes and vegetables, all saved at the last minute from becoming food waste. Every jar recovers the equivalent of a half a kilo of these products! Unlike major brands, which use mainly canned tomatoes, the small business exclusively uses fresh products to make their salsas, giving them a delicate texture and bold flavour. With their minimally processed products, the co-founders promote a healthy diet, a value that is in their business’s DNA. They also advocate for local procurement, from raw materials to jars and labels, and prefer short circuits on their production chain.
More salsa, fewer greenhouse gas emissions
The recovery and reclamation of a kilo of vegetables prevents the generation of a kilo of greenhouse gas, an equation that is bearing fruit at The Pretty Ugly Company. According to its current projections, the company estimates it will generate a reduction in greenhouse gases in the order of 40,000 kilos in 2022. To accurately evaluate and measure the environmental impact of its activities, Lysanne Bourret and her partner count on the support of organizations that are experts in green, responsible practices in the food industry, including the Ministère de l’Agriculture, des Pêcheries et de l’Alimentation du Québec (MAPAQ), Ecoleader, Digifab, Agriconseil, and Développement économique de l’agglomération de Longueuil (DEL).
Reconciling environmental concerns and business success
The problem of food waste is a major issue for Québec, as it is for most developed countries, and The Pretty Ugly Company helps solve it by offering a solution that makes delicious sense. Off to a strong start, the business plans to increase tenfold the quantity of reclaimed fruits and vegetables within one year, for a total of 90,000 jars of salsa. By demonstrating that concern for the environment can go hand in hand with business success, Lysanne Bourret and Pierre-Olivier Gendron hope to inspire other entrepreneurs to follow their example.
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