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Food Industry News

Response to Managing Surplus Produce during COVID-19 - Jess Latchford of Waste Knot


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Response to Managing Surplus Produce during COVID-19 - Jess Latchford of Waste Knot


"When the mind slows down, something else comes through. We are all guilty of not being able to see the wood for the trees. And where would be without trees?"
Jess Latchford



While the world is going through mass uncertainly and flux Women In the Food Industry have been talking to a number of women in the food industry about how they are handing this change. Jess Latchford, is Director of Waste Knot, and her  company supplies food service organisations and gives new life to vegetables and fruit which would have normally been discarded for cosmetic reasons. She spoke to Women in the Food Industry about how her business is responding to coronavirus.

When the mind slows down, something else comes through

In normal times, we supply surplus produce directly from farms to hospitality, catering and charities. However, since the COVID-19 crisis has forced the closure of all restaurants, pubs, bars etc, as well as creating an unprecedented demand on food redistribution charities, our efforts are now fully-focussed on getting as much produce to those in isolation, the vulnerable and low-income families through various partners such as Fare Share. Due to the logistics already being in place, we were able to carry-on providing fruit and vegetables through the Surplus with Purpose fund, enabled by DEFRA. Not only does this allow for the surplus to be rehomed, but it provides the farmer with a cost-neutral source of income ensuring that cash keeps flowing through the business at this difficult time, allowing the majority of labourers and admin roles to keep their jobs.

In response to the crisis, we have worked with farmers to include 6kg veg boxes and 4kg salad boxes in our offerings, which are more suited to individual domestic needs but have kept our normal lines of 15kg veg boxes and 9kg stew packs available to enable larger charities to receive larger volumes to work with for mass catering.

We’re in a unique position to work within the hearts of both the agriculture and the hospitality industries, allowing valuable insights into how they’re interlinked, the similarities, the differences and how each plays a vital role in the existence and survival of the other. 

A key message behind Waste Knot is to challenge perceptions, to question the norm and to manoeuvre ourselves to better, more efficient, sensical ways of working with each other and nature. Never has there been a time where this is needed more. 

We are all guilty of not being able to see the wood for the trees. And where would be without trees? There are opportunities presenting themselves which we must be aware of and refuse to forget the lessons we are learning; the ever-increasing importance of how we need, value and see each other, as well as how vitally important nature is to our mental and physical health. 

Visit Women in The Food Industry for the full feature on Jess Latchford of Waste Knot's response to Managing Surplus Produce during COVID-19.

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