Baldor Specialty Foods, a New York-based specialty food distributor, diverted 100% of the organic waste generated in its Fresh Cuts operation from landfill thanks to its food waste initiative known as SparCs (the word “scraps” spelled backwards).
SparCs is a waste prevention strategy developed by Baldor’s sustainability director, Thomas McQuillan. Baldor processes over 1 million pounds of produce each week, and was discarding a worrisome amount of usable food scraps. Any remaining organic material not used for human or animal consumption is processed within an on-site waste-to-water system.
“We had to stop referring to these food products as waste,” says McQuillan. “It’s food. Usable, nutritious and delicious food. We just needed to find ways to consume it.”
Baldor’s SparCs program takes a multi-faceted approach to organic food waste, prioritizing human consumption whenever possible. This emphasis inspired partnerships with companies like Washington D.C.’s MISFIT Juicery, who recover unsellable, blemished, “ugly produce” for use in cold-pressed juices. Baldor now sends food trim to MISFIT to be made into juices. In addition, Haven’s Kitchen, a Manhattan-based café and cooking school dedicated to forming community through the pleasure of cooking and eating, developed a food line made up of Baldor’s SparCs such as soups, sauces and cookies.
For many produce items, such as cantaloupe rinds and mango pits, which are unfit for human consumption, McQuillan worked with several partners who repurpose them into animal feed, including Brick Farms, Hopewell, N.J.
“We pride ourselves on being innovators and trailblazers in all facets of specialty food distribution,” says TJ Murphy, chief executive officer of Baldor. “SparCs is just the next logical manifestation of that commitment, and we’re happy to present this sustainability model for others in the industry to adopt.”