The former Bakkavor and Greencore rivals set up a consultancy firm in the spring and have since been contracted by the European ready meal giant Ter Beke to help it break into the UK ready meal market.
Nottingham-based Bingham and Jones have since developed a range of Italian ready meals with up to 21 days’ shelf-life for one of the UK’s major multiples.
“This particular retailer, which isn’t even the UK’s largest, could save between £6M and £10M in food waste with this ready meal concept,” Bingham told FoodManufacture.co.uk.
Refused to disclose
Although the pair refused to disclose which retailer the ready meals were for, they were set to pitch the final products in a meeting on October 1.
The products are made using a pasteurising technique commonly used by other EU food businesses, but not in the UK.
“UK tastes have, in the past, prevented food manufacturers using a pasteurising system to prolong shelf-life because of the way it looked and tasted,” added Jones.
“But we have moved it on a step further and have improved the quality and visual appearance and have created something that we can apply into other core ranges,” he claimed.
Recent figures from the Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP) suggested that savings of £2.2bn could be made by reducing food waste if products were given and extra day’s shelf-life.
15% of food waste
Around 15% of all food waste arose from the disposal of products that were no longer edible, said Peter Whitehead, WRAP’s interim project manager.
Food waste was an important area for supermarkets to take into account, added Bingham.
“This method of production, that’s only available on the Continent, is targeted at supermarkets, which are trying to reduce food waste – especially with the likes of global food shortages predicted by 2050.”
Bingham and Jones, who started their business by investing £10,000 each, have amassed seven major manufacturing and retail clients since April this year.
As well as working with Ter Beke, which has a turnover of £300M (€400M) and employs 1,700 staff, they are set to launch a range of Chinese ready meals with the retailer Asda.
“We have also just hired the Young Scientist of the Year and we’re looking to hire another three people within the next 12 months,” said Jones.
The pair, who have a new office at the University of Nottingham, will also be leading an open day there to show the versatility of sustainable ingredients, such as cricket flour and vegetable proteins.
UK food waste in figures
- £2.2bn – the amount that can be saved if food was given an extra day’s shelf-life
- 15% of all food waste comes from out of date food
- 4Mt of waste comes from food manufacturers each year
- £1.2bn – the cost to food manufacturers
- 15Mt of food waste is produced in the UK each year
- £6.9bn of food and packaging waste produced in the UK each year